Savanna grasslands are best described as dry, hot expanses of land characterized by long grasses and with only a few trees which are scattered. During the Pliocene and Miocene Epochs which lasted for 25 million years, mountains rose in the Western North American region creating continental climate that was suitable for grasslands.
Prehistoric forests declined and they were replaced by grasslands. After the Ice Ages of Pleistocene, there was an expansion of grasslands as drier and hotter climates prevailed across the globe. Savannah grasslands have seasons that are very hot, dry and long which are followed by rainy short seasons each year.
During summer, the average temperature is 270C while in winter, it is 180C. Usually, the sky above savannah grasslands does not have any clouds as such, the temperature drops dramatically during the nights as the clouds aid in reflecting heat back to the earth as such, keeping it warm. Animals living in this environment have already adapted to the dry conditions and they also make the most of the available water.
Savanna grasslands cover half of Africa’s surface area, large sections of Australia, India and North America. Essentially, this type of biome covers a large section of the earth’s surface area. They can also result from soil conditions, climate changes, agricultural practices and animal behavior.
Humans also contribute in the creation of savannas by cutting down trees and burning them in order to plant crops. Large animals such as elephants can also turn any forest into a savanna by knocking down trees, stripping bark from trees and also trampling on tree seedlings.
The most important aspect about savanna grasslands is the climate which is warm usually and with temperatures ranging from 680F to 860F. This kind of biome can only exist in areas that have a six to eight month wet summer season and a four to six month dry winter season. Annual rainfall in the grasslands is ten to thirty inched per year while during dry seasons, lightening strikes the ground often igniting dry grasses covering the region.
Some of the plants that dominate the savanna grasslands include red oats, Rhodes grass, lemon grass, star grass and other types of shrubs. Most of the savanna grass is coarse and it grows in patches that have interspersed regions of bare grounds.
Because there is little rainfall in this region, it is not easy to find many trees though there are individual trees or some small groves of trees mostly found near ponds and streams. There are also different types of animals found in savanna grasslands though they vary in accordance to the geographical position of the particular biome.
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