Human impacts on the savanna

Dangers to the Savanna Ecosystem By Brett Smith; Updated March 09, Like most biomes on Earth, the savanna ecosystem survives on a delicate balance among environmental factors and various species, including humans. Severe drought can rob these grasslands of their life-giving water and foliage, while poachers and indigenous peoples often threaten to disrupt the food web through the killing of animals for sport or survival.

Human impacts on the savanna

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Associated Data

Conditions are warm to hot in all seasons, but significant rainfall occurs for only a few months each year—about October to March in the Southern Hemisphere and April to September in the Northern Hemisphere. Mean annual precipitation is generally 80 to cm 31 to 59 inchesalthough in some central continental locations it may be as low as 50 cm 20 inches.

The dry season is typically longer than the wet season, but it varies considerably, from 2 to 11 months. The animal is a keystone species i.

Environment Located in patches in subhumid parts of Central America, tropical savannas usually occur at the intermediate levels of the lee slopes of mountains and on plateaus. Heavy, though short-lived, summer rains bring on… Origin Savannas arose as rainfall progressively lessened in the edges of the tropics during the Cenozoic Era 66 million years ago to the present —in particular, during the past 25 million years.
Human Impact - Grassland Savanna Thursday, December 1, Current Human Impacts: Tourism keeps natural sections of Africa alive.

In wet savannas the dry season typically lasts 3 to 5 months, in dry savannas 5 to 7 months, and in thornbush savannas it is even longer. An alternative subdivision recognizes savanna woodland, with trees and shrubs forming a light canopy; tree savanna, with scattered trees and shrubs; shrub savanna, with scattered shrubs; and grass savanna, from which trees and shrubs are generally absent.

Other classifications have also been suggested. In spite of their differences, all savannas share a number of distinguishing structural and functional characteristics. Generally, they are defined as tropical or subtropical vegetation types that have a continuous grass cover occasionally interrupted by trees and shrubs and that are found in areas where bushfires occur and where main growth patterns are closely associated with alternating wet and dry seasons.

Savannas can be considered geographic and environmental transition zones between the rainforests of equatorial regions and the deserts of the higher northern and southern latitudes. The distinction between savannas and other major vegetation types such as tropical deciduous forests or monsoon forestsscrublandsor grasslands is somewhat arbitrary.

The variation from one to another occurs along a continuumoften without distinct boundaries, and the vegetation is dynamic and changeable. The tree component of savannas generally becomes more important as rainfall increases, but other factors such as topographysoiland grazing intensity all exert influences in complex and variable ways.

Fish Decline

Dry-season fires, fueled by dried grass, may kill some trees, especially the more-vulnerable young saplings, and, therefore, their severity also greatly affects the nature of savanna vegetation. Because grazing and fire are strongly affected by human activities and have been for thousands of years, humans continue to have a controlling influence on the nature, dynamicsdevelopment, structure, and distribution of savannas in many parts of their global range.

Soil fertility is generally rather low in savannas but may show marked small-scale variations. It has been demonstrated in Belize and elsewhere that trees can play a significant role in drawing mineral nutrients up from deeper soil layers. Dead leaves and other tree litter drop to the soil surface near the tree, where they decompose and release nutrients.

Soil fertility is thereby greater near trees than in areas between trees. An unusually large proportion of dead organic matter—approximately 30 percent—is decomposed through the feeding activities of termites.

Thus, a significant proportion of released mineral nutrients may be stored for long periods in termite mounds where they are not readily available to plant roots.

In savannas in Thailand it has been shown that soil fertility can be markedly improved by mechanically breaking up termite mounds and spreading the material across the soil surface.

Human impacts on the savanna

In Kenyaold termite mounds, which are raised above the general soil surface, also provide flood -proof sites where trees and shrubs can grow, with grassland between them, forming the so-called termite savanna. Termite mounds are a distinctive feature of many savanna landscapes in both hemispheres, and termites are important decomposers in their ecosystems.

Where soils are poor and, especially, in areas prone to waterlogging in the rainy season because of flatness of the ground or a hardpan close to the surface that roots cannot penetrate, tree growth is not vigorous enough for a closed forest to develop. This is true even where the climate appears to be suitable.

A more open savanna vegetation is the result. Biota The biota of savannas reflect their derivation from regional biotas; therefore, species vary between regions.

The savannas of Asia and tropical Americaunlike those of Africa and Australiaare best considered as attenuated rainforests, their natural biotas having strong affinities with those of the wetter environments nearer the Equator in the same regions.

Trees in those savannas are usually deciduous, their leaves falling during the dry season. The African savanna biota is fundamentally a grassland assemblage of plants and animals with the addition of scattered trees.

Australian OutbackThe Australian Outback.On the savanna, or in the woodland-savanna biome, which substantially demands adaptations for ground-living locomotion rather than those for tree-living, the possibilities are limited.

If bipedal humans are discounted, there is a single pattern of ground-living locomotion, which is called  · Human Impact on the Savanna Biome Humans have hurt the savanna biome in many ways. Some ways that humans have hurt the savanna biome are that humans use the land for cattle grazing, which is why the grass is beginning to die and the savanna is slowly turning into a Human Impacts on the Savanna.

Description Savannahs are considered tropical grasslands because they are located at tropical latitudes, however much drier than many tropical Population growth among humans negatively impacts biomes around the world. Expanding human civilization affects grassland biomes – characterized by large areas of land where grasses are the primary form of plant life – in specific However, human impacts are causing widespread and accelerating degradation of savannas.

The primary threats are land cover-change and transfor- savanna ecosystem goods and services, including the provision of water and food, medicines, grazing for livestock, timber and  · The flattening of the rainforest-savanna gradient caused by human destruction of rainforest appears to be erasing a signature of divergence-with-gene-flow, a pattern previously described for A.

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African Savannah: Human impact: