Toggle Nav

Tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas and shrublands

Large expanses of land in the tropics do not receive enough rainfall to support extensive tree cover. The Tropical and Subtropical Grasslands, Savannas, and Shrublands are characterized by rainfall levels between 90-150 centimetres per year.
 
However, there may be great variability in soil moisture throughout the year. Grasses dominate the species composition of these ecoregions, although scattered trees may be common. Large mammals that have evolved to take advantage of the ample forage typify the biodiversity associated with these habitats.

These large mammal faunas are richest in African savannas and grasslands. The most intact assemblages currently occur in East African Acacia savannas and Zambezian savannas comprised of mosaics of miombo, mopane, and other habitats. Large-scale migration of tropical savanna herbivores, such as wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) and zebra (Equus zebra), are continuing to decline through habitat alteration and hunting.

They now only occur to any significant degree only in East Africa and the central Zambezian region. Much of the extraordinary abundance of Guinean and Sahelian savannas has been eliminated, although the savannas in the Sudd region are one of the last places where large-scale migrations of Ugandan Kob still occur.

Both the Cerrado and the Llanos are noted for complexity of habitats and the unusually high levels of endemism and beta diversity in plants for tropical savannas. The tropical savannas of northern Australia and southern New Guinea exhibit distinct species assemblages and higher taxa.

Biodiversity Patterns
Diverse large mammal assemblages in abundant aggregations can be a characteristic feature; most vertebrates display relatively widespread distributions; plant alpha diversity is typically low, but in some regions beta diversity and gamma diversity can be very high.

Minimum Requirements
Large natural landscapes are necessary to allow large grazers and their associated predators to track seasonal rainfall or to migrate to new areas during periodic droughts; large-scale fire events also necessitate the conservation of larger natural landscapes; some large predators, such as wild dogs of Africa, require large natural areas to persist due to home range size and sensitivity to humans; sources of water are critical for many species.

Sensitivity to Disturbance
Restoration potential in these systems is high; but plowing, overgrazing by domestic livestock, and excessive burning can quickly degrade and alter natural communities; alteration of surface water patterns can have significant impacts on the persistence of many vertebrate species; many species are highly sensitive to low intensity hunting or other human activities.

Australasia

Northwestern Australia
Southeastern Asia: Southern portion of the island
Northeastern Australia
Northwestern Australia
Northeastern Australia
Tropical & Subtropical Grasslands, Savannas, & Shrublands
Cape York Peninsula in northeastern Australia
Eastern Australia
Northern Australia

Afrotropical

South Atlantic Ocean, about half way between southern Africa and South America
Zambezian Baikiaea woodlands
Southeastern Africa: South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Namibia, and Malawi
Western Zambezian grasslands
Central Africa
Western Africa: Stretching from Senegal through Niger
Eastern Africa: On the western and northern sides of Lake Victoria in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and Kenya
South Atlantic Ocean
Southern Miombo woodlands
Central Africa: Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola
Southern Africa: Southern Botswana, southern Zimbabwe, and northern South Africa
Southern Acacia-Commiphora bushlands and thickets
Eastern Africa: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Sudan
Eastern Africa: the Greater Serengeti grassland ecosystem in northern Tanzania
Sahelian Acacia savanna
Central Africa
Northeastern Africa: Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Kenya
Africa: Cameroon, Nigeria
Southern Africa: including parts of Botswana, northeastern Namibia, Zimbabwe, and northern South Africa
Itigi-Sumbu thicket
Western Africa: Stretching form Nigeria to Senegal
Southeastern Africa: Tanzania and Mozambique
East Sudanian savanna
Island in the southern Atlantic Ocean, about half way between South America and Africa
Southern Africa: Angola and Namibia
Angolan Miombo woodlands

Indo-Malayan

Asia: Bhutan, India, and Nepal

Nearctic

Southern North America: Southern United States into northern Mexico

Neotropical

Southeastern South America: Uruguay, Brazil, and Argentina
Northern South America -- in Colombia and Venezuela
Southeastern South America, in Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil
South America: Northern Brazil, Guyana, and Venezuela
Córdoba montane savanna
Eastern Pacific Ocean, southeast of Mexico
Central South America: Central Brazil, into Bolivia and Paraguay
Eastern South America: Southeastern Brazil
Central South America: Northern Bolivia
Southern South America: Central Argentina

Oceania

Northwestern Hawaii scrub
Hawaii tropical low shrublands
Hawaii tropical high shrublands

xShare Your Thoughts!

Just 10 minutes of your time can help improve our site! Answer a few quick questions and you can help us make worldwildlife.org better.

Start SurveyClose this box