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Tropical Grassland/Savanna - Research Paper Example

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Your Name Due Date Every one has seen those spectacular naturalist photographs of an immense sun setting or rising against a vast, grassy landscape, as the silhouette of a herd of elephants passes across while the graceful necks of giraffe reach for tall branches…
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Tropical Grassland/Savanna
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Download file to see previous pages Unless these sorts of issues are addressed then savannas, along with much of the plant and wildlife that thrive there, will become extinct; then the only way to remember that sweeping beauty will be in photographs. In order to understand the savannas, tropical grasslands, better it is best to start from the very beginning; how they were formed, what characterizes, and defines them. A savanna is called a biome, which describes the different vegetation and animal life that is found there; however, the primary identification of a savanna is its climate.i The first savannas formed after the last ice age. As the grassland ranges expanded growing hotter and much drier, they split into 2 distinct divisions; temperate grassland and savannas. 1The thing that characterizes savannas above all else is the nature of precipitation. The annual rainfall on a savanna ranges from, approximately, 20-50 inches, which is compressed into a tight 6-to-8 month period, followed by a long period of drought. These dry periods allow for the occurrence of brush fires. These fires are part of the natural cycle of the savanna biome. These are three types of savannas; climatic savannas, which are formed under natural climatic conditions, edaphic savannas, which those caused by the reaction of the soil due to fire, and lastly, derived savannas, which is the result of human interventions and augmenting of existing ecosystems. Savannas are vast stretches of tall grasses, with very few shrubs and trees. As can be seen in the map, savannas comprise, nearly, half the continent of Africa, parts of Australia, South America, and India. 2 The animals and plants of the savanna, of course, differ by country and continent, kangaroos can be found only in Australia, for example. However the food web of the savanna, in Africa, per say, is rather standard. The “producers” include the grasses, few shrubs, and trees. The common “primary” consumers would include zebra and giraffe. The examples of “secondary” consumers would include apex predators like cheetah and lions. Hyenas, vultures, and termites make up the “scavengers” on the savanna, and, lastly, the “decomposers,” or detrivores, include mushrooms, insects, and microorganisms. The animals of the savanna are uniquely specialized for their environment. One prime example of evolutionary adaption to one’s environment is the giraffe. Water can be scarce during the dry seasons on the savanna. Giraffe can drink and then go without for weeks at a time without more, when necessary. They have, also, adapted the long necks, which allowed them to reach the highest branches others cannot, as well as, pull dew and moisture from their food as a supplement. The animals of the savanna biomes are not the only ones uniquely adapted to their environment. Savanna’s would easily become tropical rainforests if it were not for the persistence of brush fires, both, natural occurring and manmade. The fires provide food for birds and insects, as well as, provide nutrients in the soil to encourage new grass growth. Many plants have adapted themselves to the likelihood of fire. The grasses have developed deeper than average root systems, more resistant to fire. There are several tree species that have developed fire resistant bark.3 As previously stated, the savanna biome has a far more sensitive balance which is more easily disrupted than had been previously thought. The greatest ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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