African Savanna Ecology

ENV 323/623 at Kruger National Park, South Africa

Do you know what a savanna is really?

One of the first question posed to students was how would you describe a savanna? Answered range from seasonally dry, megafauna and grazers present, fire as a disturbance, low latitudes, etc. If you had to guess from the photos below which do you think would be classified as a savanna?

It is actually a trick question! All of these are savannah ecosystems! What makes a savannah is the presence of trees and grass. This means we even have savannas in the United States such as the oak savannas in the Midwest!