Background Information

 

A savanna is a region where grasses grow naturally. They are found throughout the world, but tropical grasslands grow only in Africa, South America, Australia, and Asia. Grasslands that are outside of tropic areas are called temperate grasslands, not savannas. Grasslands grow where there is not enough water throughout the year to support many trees. Some trees do grow on the savanna, but they are sparsely scattered. The grasses are well adapted to the dry climate and have roots deep in the soil.

 

Grasslands are important because they provide a home for many animals and insects. They also prevent erosion by wind and water because of their valuable topsoil. Many grains (corn, wheat, oats, rice, sorghum, and millet) originally come from these wild grasses.

 

The largest savanna in the world is in Africa. In fact, nearly half of the continent is covered by savannas. It is warm all year around and is divided into a rainy and a dry season. During the rainy season all is green and lush, and during the dry season all is brown. Fires are a natural part of the life cycle on the savanna. It is a way for the land to cleanse itself.

 

Animals not pictured in the big book which also live on the savanna include the hippopotamus, aardvark, warthog, gazelle, springbok, and eland. Other birds include ostriches, flamingos, and secretaries.

 

There is a threat to the savannas as many are being turned into land for ranching and farming. Some countries in Africa are protecting them by making the savannas into national parks.

References:

Life On The African Savanna by Melvin Berger, 1995 Newbridge Communications.

Teaching Guide - Life on the African Savanna by Gilda Berger, 1995 Newbridge Communications.

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