The Humid Savannah
# The Humid Savannah General explanation of terms: First, the term ‘savannah’; should be clarified. “Savannah” means “wide plain” and is the name given to the vegetation zone that extends between the tropical rain forest and the desert. In the Savannah vegetation zone, a distinction is made between dry seasons and rainy seasons. Depending on the length of the rainy season and the amount of precipitation, a distinction is made between three different categories: 1. The wet / humid Savannah (long rainy season, short dry season) 2. The dry Savannah (rainy season and dry season each of equal length) 3. The Thorn Savannah (rainy season short, dry season long, almost no vegetation) There are no clear boundaries between the zones, as the transition is smooth and slow. The following information relates exclusively to the wet Savannah. **Location:** The wet Savannah forms the transition between the dry Savannah and the tropical rain forest, so it is located near the equator. It is regarded as one of the most species-rich regions on our planet and covers almost ten percent of the entire earth’s surface. Large areas of this vegetation zone can be found mainly in central and southern Africa, as well as in Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia. India, Southeast Asia and Australia also have large areas of the wet Savannah. **Climate and precipitation** As mentioned, savannas and their climate are characterized by the alternation of dry and rainy seasons. These dry and rainy periods are caused by the sun and its current position. While the sun is at its zenith, more water evaporates due to the higher temperatures. The wet Savannah, with a rainy season duration of almost eight months, is the Savannah with the longest rainy season and therefore also the one with the strongest vegetation. The diversity of species is also far greater than in the other Savannah types. During this rainy period there is heavy rainfall. The amount of precipitation during this period varies from year to year. However, on average one speaks of about a thousand to a thousand seven hundred millimeters per year, which fall on the earth in the form of rain. Because the humid Savannah lies in the tropical climate zone and thus near the equator, the solar radiation is more or less vertical throughout the year. For the vegetation zone, this means high temperatures all year round. These usually vary between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius and thus remain more or less the same throughout the year. **Vegetation and flora:** The current vegetation is strongly dependent on whether it is the rainy or dry season. In general, various grasses grow in the wet Savannah. A plant very typical for the vegetation zone is the so-called elephant grass, which can reach a height of six meters. However, these only exist during the rainy season, as they cannot survive without regular irrigation; when the dry season arrives, the grasses dry up. Less widespread than such grasses, but also more or less strongly present in wet Savannah are, for example, bush collections as well as small deciduous forests, which already represent the transition to the tropical rain forest. Furthermore, plants such as umbrella acacias and oil palms can be found in the wet Savannah. Some woody plants have such a deep and pronounced root system that they can survive the dry months without precipitation. At the beginning of the dry season, these plants throw off their leaves to save water. **Floor:** The entire soil of the wet Savannah is covered by a layer of herbs. They are partly reddish-brown Savannah soils, but mostly so-called latosols. The soil also has a high acid content, is low in nutrients and rather loamy. **Fauna (animal world)** In the wet Savannah: The Savannah are home to a large number of different animal species. For example numerous mammal-types like lions, buffaloes, hyenas, kangaroos, zebras, gazelles and antelopes, as well as elephants, giraffes and hippopotamuses have its habitat there. Furthermore, the vegetation zone contains a large number of arachnids and insects, such as ants and grasshoppers. Also, termites are widespread in the savannas. Notable animal species are also certain bird species such as vultures and ostriches. **The Man in the wet Savannah** The fact that the soil in the wet Savannah is quite suitable for cultivation has benefited mankind in recent decades. Today, various crops are cultivated in the wet Savannah. For example, corn, sweet potatoes, sesame, millet, and so on. Palm oil production also takes place partly in Savannah. A great deal of space is required for these economic products. As many plants as possible are cultivated on huge plantations. In spite of the economic advantages it brings, man is a major problem for the Savannah. The clearing of small forests and the use of such large areas disturbs many living creatures and their natural habitats. For centuries herds of animals have also been sent to the Savannah for grazing. However, this also has a negative consequence, as it threatens the so-called “shrubbery”;. In addition, due to the use of firewood and construction timber, many trees and woody plants are also cleared in the Savannah. Overall it can be said that man, especially in this day and age, poses a great threat to the wet Savannah. The deforestation of trees and plants causes the vegetation less desert to spread and the habitat for many animal species becomes smaller and smaller.