Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
Related to prairies: Canadian Prairies
prairies,generally level, originally grass-covered and treeless plains of North America, stretching from W Ohio through Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa to the Great Plains region. The prairie belt also extends into N Missouri, S Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, E North and South Dakota, and S Canada. Many of the prairies of the world were formerly used for grazing purposes, but more and more are now coming under cultivation; hence they are often referred to today as the "vanishing grasslands." The soil of the prairies is basically a black chernozemchernozem
or black earth,
variety of soil rich in organic matter in the form of humus. It is generally a modified type of loess. True chernozem is black in color, but there are various grades, shading off into gray and chestnut-brown soils.
..... Click the link for more information. , which is extremely fertile. The prairies correspond to the PampaPampa
, city (1990 pop. 19,959), seat of Gray co., extreme N Tex. This cow town on the Panhandle plains still ships cattle and wheat and packs meat, but the discovery of oil and gas has made it an industrial center with refineries and other oil-based industries.
..... Click the link for more information. of Argentina, the llanosllanos
, Spanish-American term for prairies, specifically those of the Orinoco River basin of N South America, in Venezuela and E Colombia. The llanos of the Orinoco are a vast, hot region of rolling savanna broken by low-lying mesas, scrub forest, and scattered palms.
..... Click the link for more information. in northern South America, the steppesteppe
, temperate grassland of Eurasia, consisting of level, generally treeless plains. It extends over the lower regions of the Danube and in a broad belt over S and SE European and Central Asian Russia, stretching E to the Altai and S to the Transbaykal and Manchurian plains.
..... Click the link for more information. of Eurasia, and the highveld (see veldveld
[Du.,=field], term applied to the grassy undulating plateaus of the Republic of South Africa and of Zimbabwe. The veld comprises territory of varying elevation—the highveld (4,000–6,000 ft/1,220–1,830 m), the middleveld
..... Click the link for more information. ) of South Africa. Because they have the favorable climate and soil fertility characteristic of prairies, the wheat belts in the United States, Ukraine, and the Pampa of Argentina are among the world's most productive agricultural regions.
See R. Manning, Grassland (1995); S. R. Jones and R. C. Cushman, The North American Prairie (2004).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/