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Tropical Grasslands 4

Page history last edited by madison@... 11 years ago

 

 

 

I.        Description and general information (such as location, why it is named what it is,

what is the dominant plant life, etc.) 

A.     Location

-        north and south of equatorial tropical rain forests.

-        located in the tropics.

 B.     Plant life

-        Tropical grasslands: Contain more trees than temperate grasslands, however tropical grasslands lack colorful flowering plants that grow abundantly in temperate grasslands. The concentrations of trees in the tropical grasslands are still low and, typically, scattered.

-        Africa:  The tendencies of the plants are different depending on where it is located in the Savanna. Savannas relatively close to rain forests are usually a mix of savanna and forest. Tree concentrations in these areas are very dense and grass can grow several feet (2 meters) tall. Fire resistant trees and shrubs are the main vegetation in these areas, because farmers or herders burned most of the other plants.

-        Wooded savanna:  fire resistant trees and shrubs are not as dense, and grasses are not as tall. Winds and tall grazing animals such as giraffes, trim trees and grasses. In this area, plants like acacia bushes have thorns to dissuade grazers from eating them.

-        Dry savanna: Are dominated by drought resistant trees and shrubs and ground covered in stiff, dry, short, brown grass. One fire and drought resistant tree, found in the dry savanna is the baobab tree. During times of drought, the tree stores water in its large and oddly shaped trunk. Sometimes it even drops its leaves to prevent water loss through evaporation. When summer rains arrive, the tree grows leaves again.

-        Wooded and grassy steppe areas are even drier than the dry savanna. Only tussocks and short, thorned trees grow here.

-        The dry steppe of the sahel is located just below the Sahara desert. Here only tufts of grass and gnarly, thorny bushes can survive. Trees cannot even survive in this region due to the harsh conditions.

C.    Animal life

-        Savanna:  insect populations are very high. Insects like termites and locusts, number in the billions. What is more surprising is the variety of animals that live in the savanna.

-        Raining seasons: large herds of wildebeests in the Serengeti National Park graze in the southeastern part of the park around the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. In January and February, pregnant wildebeests give birth to calves. When the spring and early summer rains end, great herds of wildebeest travel north to follow the water. Thousands of Burchell's zebras, Grant's Gazelles, Elands, and Thompson's Gazelles follow them. They travel as far as the Masoi Mara of Kenya and stay there until November, when they follow the rains back to the south. Predators sometimes follow these African herbivores.

-        Predators in the Savanna need to be quick, powerful, smart, and sneaky to bring down fast and alert animals, like gazelles. Cheetahs, for instance, are built to move fast. These animals can reach speeds of up to 80 miles an hour (129 kilometers per hour). Other savanna predators, like lions, sneak up on their prey. They will hunt with their pride, and ambush unsuspecting prey. Hyenas and Australian dingoes also hunt in groups. These animals are also scavengers. Other meat eating scavengers in the savanna are vultures and long-legged marabou storks

-        Birds:  One of the most well known birds is the ostrich, which resides in Africa. Other relatives of the ostrich live in different tropical grasslands. The emu lives in Australia and the rhea in South American grasslands

-        Vultures and secretary birds can be seen flying over the savanna searching for food with their keen eyes. Periodically they can be seen diving for rodents they have spotted from high in the clouds. One of the most famous rodents of the savanna in South Africa is the aardvark. These spunky, termite-eating rodents almost look like giant sized armadillos. Aardvark is a South African Boer word meaning "earth pig". Aardvarks have powerful front claws that can dig into the soil very easily. They dig burrows when surprised in the open, and for homes. Large herbivores, like elephants, black rhinoceroses, giraffes, gnus, antelopes, and hippopotamuses also live in the African Savanna.

II.         Climate, especially rainfall (discuss - give more than just a number) and temperature (discuss - give more than just a number and be sure to include the climate zone)

A.     Climate

-        Winter:  a mass of dry, sinking air covers some savanna lands. This causes the winter to be a rainless and relatively hot season. Temperatures can be well over 64° F (18° C) during the winter season.

-        Summer: is considered the rainy season. Rain clouds form over the savanna as warm, moist air arrives from the equator. Temperatures for the summer remain above 80° F (27° C) mostly.

-        Monsoons:  Savannas that have warm and dry winters and hot, rainy summers are called monsoon climates. The name Monsoon comes from the Arabic word mauism, meaning season. Monsoon climates experience winds that head in separate directions at different times of the year.

-        Some Australian savannas receive only 18 inches (46 centimeters) of rain a year, while African savannas can receive more than three times that. Temperatures may also vary in different savannas, but usually by no more than 20° F (-7° C).

 

III.     Define Biomass and Productivity.  Provide a discussion of the biome's rank in productivity to include its soil quality.

 A.      Biomass:

- Refers to living and recently dead biological material that can be used as fuel or for industrial production; plant matter grown to generate electricity or produce, for example trash such as dead trees and branches, yard clippings and wood chips. It also includes plant or animal matter used for production of fibers, chemicals or heat; it may also include biodegradable wastes that can be burnt as fuel. All of this excludes organic material which has been transformed by geological processes into substances such as coal or petroleum.

B.  Productivity:

-  refers to metrics and measures of output from production processes, per unit of input.

 

IV.     Discuss threats to the biome.

A.  Legal Status/Protection

-  Less than 8 percent of all grasslands worldwide are protected. The lowest protection of any biome on earth is temperate grasslands, at less than 1 percent. This includes North America’s Great Plains.

B.    Habitat

-  Grasslands are areas dominated by grasses and forbs, and have few or no trees. Grazing and roaming animals occur in abundance.

V.      Choose 1 animal that lives in the biome and describe how it is adapted to live there.

A. Giraffes

-  Tallest land mammals in the world, with heads that may tower twenty feet above ground. Their great height allows them to reach the leaves of the spiny trees that are their staple.

They pluck the buds, fruit, and leaves of these trees with prehensile upper lips and long tongues that can be extended up to eighteen inches.

VI.     Choose 1 plant that lives in the biome and describe how it is adapted to live there.

 A. Baobab Tree

 -  Only produces leaves during the wet season. When leaves do grow, they are in tiny finger-like clusters. The small size of the leaves helps limit water loss.

-  In order to survive the long months of drought it has the ability to store water in its large trunk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grasslands are characterized as lands dominated by grasses rather than large shrubs or trees. In the Miocene and Pliocene Epochs (mountains), which spanned a period of about 25 million years, mountains rose in western North America and created a continental climate good to the grasslands. Ancient forests declined and the grasslands became extensive. Following the Pleistocene Ice Ages, grasslands expanded in range as hotter and drier climates prevailed worldwide. There are two main divisions of grasslands:

 

 

Savannas which result from climatic conditions are called climatic savannas. Savannas that are caused by soil conditions and that are not entirely maintained by fire are called edaphic savannas.

 

 

Grasslands are characterized by their tall, perennial grasses and lack of trees. Grazing and roaming animals dominate this peaceful biome. There are two main types of grasslands: tropical grasslands and European farmland. Tropical grasslands are located near the equator, between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. These areas are hot year-round, usually never dropping under 64° F (18° C). Although these areas are overall very dry, they do have a season of heavy rain. Temperate grasslands are located either north of the Tropic of Cancer or south of the Tropic of Capricorn. These areas experience cold winters and hot summers. Together these grasslands cover more than 14 million square miles.

 

Tropical grasslands, or savannas, lie north and south of tropical rain forests that are on the equator. Some areas beyond savannas are hot deserts. Other savannas may be lined with mountains, dense forests, and seas.  A large tropical grassland can be found south of the Amazon forest in the Brazilian Highlands, called campos. Tropical grasslands, or savannas, lie north and south of tropical rain forests that are on the equator. 

 

Tropical grasslands tend to have more trees than temperate grasslands, however tropical grasslands lack colorful flowering plants that grow abundantly in temperate grasslands. Still, the concentrations of trees in the tropical grasslands are low and, typically, scattered. Savannas relatively close to rain forests are usually a mix of savanna and forest.  Fire resistant trees and shrubs are the main vegetation in these areas, because farmers or herders burned most of the other plants.

The next part of a savanna is called the wooded savanna. Here, fire resistant trees and shrubs are not as dense, and grasses are not as tall. Winds and tall grazing animals like giraffes, trim trees and grasses.

 

The next part of the savanna is much drier and hotter than the wooded savanna. It is appropriately named the dry savanna.  One fire and drought resistant tree found in the dry savanna is the baobab tree. During times of drought, the tree stores water in its large and odd shaped trunk. Sometimes it even loses it leaves to prevent evaporation. When summer rains arrive, the tree grows leaves again.

 

 

Tropical grasslands are full of life. In the savanna, insect populations are very high.  What is more amazing is the variety of animals that live in the savanna. During the raining seasons, in the Serengeti National Park animals graze in the southeastern part of the park around the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Predators need to be quick, powerful, smart, and sneaky to bring down fast and alert animals, like gazelles. 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

Comments (2)

Tiberius Doyle said

at 1:12 pm on Mar 5, 2009

WOW!

Taylor D said

at 3:40 pm on Mar 8, 2009

Dangggg. Nice job.

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