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What is the Savanna Biome?

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  • Written By: S. Mithra
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2016
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Variable rainfall, grassland sprinkled with tall trees, and hardpan ground characterize the temperate Savanna biome. It can be found most famously in the plains of Africa, but parts of Florida, Brazil, Australia, and India belong to this biome as well. It is a mixture of prairie land and forest, but it has unique characteristics as well.

The temperature on the Savanna varies little from season to season, averaging a warm 68º F (20º C) over the year. Rainfall, though, varies drastically. The wet season lasts 6 - 8 months, dropping most of the area's 20 - 60 inches (60 - 150 cm) of rain in a short period of time. The hard ground's impermeability means the precipitation makes temporary puddles that only slowly feed ground water. In the dry winter months, drought overtakes the terrain, and water sources evaporate. Therefore, animals and plants have adapted to survive these exaggerated conditions. Some birds migrate to wetter areas, while some rodents go into a dormant state underground.

Trees of the Savanna have little biodiversity. Acacia and Baobob trees dominate the otherwise straight horizon line. These trees have flattened tops because grazers, like giraffes, nibble the lower branches. Other African mammals use the trees for shade and water. Elephants, zebras, water buffalo, ostriches, hyenas, warthogs, hippopotamus, gazelles, and leopards are famous members of this ecology. There is much biodiversity among herbivorous grazers and carnivorous predators.

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The tropical Savanna biome is in a state of flux. Elephants could create grassland out of forest by trampling trees. Fire actually helps to preserve the Savanna. Dry grasses are easily ignited by lightning, and the swift burning fire sweeps the steppe. Birds and large animals have evolved to outrun the fire, while rodents burrow deep enough to withstand the heat. Even grasses store their water supply in their roots, rather than their blades, so they are not killed by a blaze. The fire moves too quickly to damage trees, so can safely germinate seeds of some species.

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Discuss this Article

anon352289
Post 33

Why aren't hyenas at the top of the food chain? They're carnivores, after all. I don't understand that.

anon329441
Post 32

Why do the savannas get a lot of rain and then they get none? That would be a bad thing for humans, so if we started to move into the savannas, would we be able to live there long? Would we adapt?

anon327502
Post 31

Which birds live in the savannah?

anon123576
Post 23

There are savannas in Australia. I need to know an Australian savanna (is Cape York a savanna?) plus a city in that savanna. Please help ASAP.

anon119263
Post 21

how have humans misused the savanna?

anon86077
Post 18

What makes a savannah a biome? please reply.

anon49485
Post 15

What is an energy pyramid? Please respond ASAP.

anon43650
Post 11

what natural resources are there?

anon40642
Post 10

What plants grow in the savvanah biome?

bummie7789
Post 9

What are the biotic and abiotic organisms that live in a savanna? i'm asking for the organisms not the factors...thank you! i need it for my project, ASAP!

anon20433
Post 7

anon18365: less than 30 inches per year

anon18365
Post 6

what is the monthly rainfall??? i need to create a climatogram and i can't find the monthly rainfall!!!! please help me!!

anon17034
Post 5

What plants live in this area?

bookworm
Post 4

People have been living in savannas for a long time. Mostly they are farming and raising cattle. Australian savanna is more sparsely populated then savannas in Africa or Asia.

In Africa the Maasai tribe has been tending cattle for at least a few centuries. In Australia it is believed that predecessors of today's Aborigines have been there as long as 40,000 years ago.

In recent years, savannas are being used more and more by farmers as farmland and for cattle grazing.

Unfortunately in some parts of Africa, when the grass is gone the land turns into dessert. Apparently, African Sahara dessert is taking over large portions of the land once the vegetation is gone.

anon840
Post 2

What are some of the occupations of people in the savannah biome?

anon764
Post 1

why do the savanas get a lot of rain then they get none? that would be a bad thing for humans, so if we started to move into the savannas would we be able to live there long? would we adapt?

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