According to the Nature Conservancy Organization, in 2009, "the world’s grasslands are home to nearly 800 million people." This occupied grassland grows from types of soil producing food, growing industrial crops and even offering healing medicinal plants and herbs. Like the diversity of grassland grasses throughout the world, so is the soil they grow from.
Soils holding the rich prairie grasslands of the central and north central United States and India compare similarly to the black soil (chernozem) of grasslands widely distributed throughout Russia. Containing large quantities of nutrients with excellent water-holding capacity, grassland black soil comes in various grades of fertility, shading off into gray and chestnut-brown colored soils.
Located inland, the Mitchell Grasslands of Northern Australia grow from mineral-rich clay soils. Curiosities of clay soil include a tendency to break apart while possessing submicroscopic abilities to retain water and release it during dry times, providing growing grass needed moisture. The atomic level abilities of clay also attract grass- and plant-growing nutrients like potassium and magnesium.
Supporting savanna grassland, lateritic soils change from moderately acidic to increasingly acidic farther down. This soil contains low organic content resulting in little nutrients and low biological activity, producing soil with little organic content. Iron and sometimes aluminum oxide caused by prolonged exposure to water form an intensely hard and erode-free rock called "coffee rock." Sometimes layers of fertile, red and yellow clay stone lie under the coffee rock.
Formed from the accumulation of silt, clay and sand blown in on the wind, calcium-rich loess lies beneath some of the world's temperate grasslands. Humus-rich loess soil develops from the calcification process where mild leaching (runoff of water), and decaying roots and plant material provides bed soil for grass growth.
- Grasslands of the bush image by Joey Caston from Fotolia.com