Savanna

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A savanna or savannah is a grassland with widely spaced trees, and occurs in several types of biomes. In savannas, grasses and trees are co-dominant vegetation types, with trees and grasses often alternating in dominance over time. The herbaceous layer is usually a mixture of grasses and herbs with trees and shrubs scattered individually or in small clumps. Savannas are frequently seen as a transitional zone, occurring between forest or woodland regions and grassland or desert regions.

Savannas are targets of regular fires. Most savannas experience fire at least twice a decade and annual fires are common in many savanna types. These fires are usually confined to the herbaceous layer and do little long term damage to mature trees. However these fires do serve to either kill or suppress tree seedlings, thus preventing the establishment of a continuous tree canopy which would prevent further grass growth. Browsing animals such as elephants, antelope and deer also play an important role in supressing tree growth in savannas.

Savannas appear to be the result of human use of fire. For example Native Americans created subtropical savannas by periodic burning in some areas of the US southeastern coast where fire-resistant Longleaf Pine was the dominant species. <ref> http://www.learnpress.org/editions/cede_longleaf/1 URL accessed August 5, 2006. </ref> Aboriginal burning appears to have been responsible for the widespread occurance of savanna in tropical Australia and New Guinea <ref>Flannery, T. (1994) "The future eaters" Reed Books Melbourne. </ref> and savannas in India are a creation of human fire use <ref>Saha, S. 2003. "Patterns in woody species diversity, richness and partitioning of diversity in forest communities of tropical deciduous forest biomes." Ecography 26: 80–86.</ref>. With the removal or lateration of traditional burning regimes many savannas are being replaced by forest and shrub thickets with little herbaceous layer. <ref>Archer S, (1994.) "Woody plant encroachment into southwestern grasslands and savannas: Rates, patterns and proximate causes." pp 13-68 in Vavra, Laycock and Pieper eds. "Ecological Implications of Livestock Herbivory in the West". Society For Range Management, Denver.</ref>

Although the term savanna is believed to have originally come from an Amerindian word describing "land which is without trees but with much grass either tall or short" (Oviedo y Valdes, 1535), by the late 1800s it was used to mean "land with both grass and trees". It now refers to land with grass and either scattered trees, or an open canopy of trees. Savannah, Georgia is named after such an area.

Savanna ecoregions are of several different types:

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Terrestrial biomes
Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests · Tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests · Tropical and subtropical coniferous forests · Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests · Temperate coniferous forests · Boreal forests/taiga ·Tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands · Temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands · Flooded grasslands and savannas · Montane grasslands and shrublands · Tundra ·Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and shrub · Deserts and xeric shrublands · Mangrove
ca:Sabana

cs:Savana da:Savanne de:Savanne et:Savann es:Sabana eo:Savano fr:Savane gl:Sabana hr:Savana io:Savano it:Savana he:סוואנה nl:Savanne ja:サバナ no:Savanne ug:تروپىك بەلۋاغ يايلاقلىرى pl:Sawanna pt:Savana ro:Savană ru:Саванна simple:Savanna sr:Савана sh:Savana fi:Savanni sv:Savann tr:Savana

Savanna

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