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Savannah ecosystem: characteristics, flora and fauna

Of all the different ecosystems that we can find in nature, the savanna ecosystem is undoubtedly one of the most striking. The peculiarity of the scarce vegetation of the savannah, its arid climate and scarce rainfall, as well as other bioclimatic characteristics, make the savannas a place brimming with surprising biodiversity. Who has not been amazed to discover in videos and documentaries the wonderful African savannas of the Serengeti (Tanzania), as well as those found in the western region of Australia or the savannas of the New World located in the plains of Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela.

Continue reading this AgroCorrn article in which you will discover the ecosystem of the savannah, its characteristics, flora and fauna . You will learn the names and main characteristics of the most abundant savanna plants and animals of the savanna.

What is the savanna ecosystem and its characteristics

The savannah is a terrestrial biome , although it can also be seen as a type of terrestrial ecosystem that we can find in hot regions of the planet. They present abundant rains during a single season of the year, while the rest of the year corresponds to times of droughts . They are characterized by being dry regions in which it can be observed in their vegetation that it is a transition zone between the ecosystems of forests and semi-deserts.

We can find savannas located in both tropical and subtropical areas, as long as the predominant climate is dry. Some of the main characteristics of the climate of the savanna are:

  • The climate is mainly tropical with periods of drought.
  • The temperature of the savannah is highly variable, but the total average is about 17ºC.
  • During the dry season, which usually lasts about five months, it is estimated that there is a volume of less than 100 mm of rainfall per month.
  • Average annual rainfall occurs between 750 mm and 1,300 mm

Types of sheets

We can find the following classification of savanna ecosystems or types of savannas :

Intertropical savannas

They are the best known savanna ecosystems, such as the savannas of East Africa. Its main characteristics include an annual warm climate, with a marked period of drought , a very poor soil in nutrients, a fauna represented by large mammals, birds and insects, as well as a vegetation with very rare trees and predominant grasslands.

Temperate savannas

Commonly known by the name of prairies (a type of terrestrial biome), the temperate savanna ecosystem can be distinguished by its predominance in Central Asia. They appear as large tracts of land whipped by humid winds.

The plants of the temperate savannas have deep roots that protect the surface of the soil, guaranteeing its fertility and the possible development of a more abundant vegetation than in the intertropical savannas that we have seen previously.

Semi-arid or Mediterranean savannas

They are found on all continents and are at mid-latitudes. Its climate is similar to the Mediterranean but somewhat semi-arid, so they are areas with little vegetation. In the area of ​​Africa, for example, you can see animals such as giraffes, large elephants, leopards, lions, etc.

Mountainous savannas

Mountainous savanna ecosystems are those found in high mountain areas. They can be found all over the planet, but mainly they are found on the African continent. Another characteristic that further differentiates this type of savanna from the others is that, as it is found in higher areas, it has a higher rate of rainfall, due to this, they are also richer in biodiversity.

Flora of the savanna ecosystem

Among the flora of the savannah , the abundant vegetation of the grass and sedge family stands out, reaching up to six meters in height. They appear forming extensive thickets, accompanied by shrubs and trees, generally xerophilous, that is, they are completely adapted to the characteristics of the climate in which they live, being able to withstand harsh times of drought and even when fires break out.

In this way, among the most outstanding plant species of the savanna we find:

  • Herb “common finger” (Digitaria eriantha).
  • Blue-stemmed bluestem herb (genus Bothriochloa).
  • Baobabs (genus Adansonia).
  • Acacias (genus Acacia ).
  • Jackal berry tree ( Diospyros mespiliformis ).
  • Candelabra tree ( Euphorbia ingens ).
  • Buffalo thorn bush ( Ziziphus mucronata ).

Savannah fauna

Without a doubt, the most abundant and representative fauna of the savanna is that formed by the ungulates (a group of mammals that walks on the tips of the fingers in the shape of a hoof), among which the following species stand out:

  • Antelopes: genera Nanger , Ammodorcas , Raphicerus and Ourebia in the African savannas; genera Antilope and Phantolops in savannas of India, Pakistan and Nepal.
  • Gazelles: genera Gazella and Eudorcas in African savannas and genus Procapra in savannas in Asian regions
  • Zebras: the species Equus quagga.
  • Giraffes: the species Giraffa camelopardalis.

On the other hand, the kings of the African savannah, the lions ( Panthera leo), share their hunting territories with other feline animals , such as leopards ( Panthera pardus ) and cheetahs ( Acinonyx jubatus ), as well as with other species of carnivores, such as the African wild dog ( Lycaon pictus ) and hyenas ( Crocuta crocuta ), as well as herbivorous animals such as elephants (genus Loxodonta ) and rhinos ( Diceros bicornis ).

Other animals of the savannah that we can find frequently are the pangolin (genus Manis ) and flightless birds such as ostriches ( Struthio camelus ), the emu (genus Dromaius ), and the impressive causer (genus Casuarius ). Also noteworthy are the thick-tailed yellow mongoose ( Cynictis penicillata), the caracal or African lynx ( Caracal caracal ), the uombat or wombat ( Lasiorhinus latifrons ) and the Kori bustard ( Ardeotis kori ).

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