Biology

Tropical Rainforest and Savanna with their characteristics

Olawunmi Omosanya - Wed, 29th May, 2019 @ 16:46: PM



Tropical Rainforest and Savanna:

The tropical rain forest and savanna are generally considered as major biomes of the world.

A biome, also called a biotic community can be defined as the largest natural community of different organisms interacting and living in the same environment.

Take for example, when you watch the animal documentary on television, you may be presented with a biome, let’s say savanna. Within the savanna, you will see grasses, zebras, hyenas, lions and other organisms interacting with each other. This is a naturally occurring community and will continue to be so because the environmental temperature within the savanna will likely remain similar throughout the year.

Also you will observe that the living community in a desert will be quite different from that of the savanna because they both have an entirely different annual temperature and climate.

Therefore, both the rainforest and savanna are considered to be separate biomes. Other biomes found on earth include the desert, swamp forest, afro-alphine and shrub.

In this article we will read on the tropical rainforest and savanna. Please click here to read on desert and swamp forest.

 

a. Tropical rainforest

The tropical rainforest is located around the equator. It is present in the following regions:

  • Amazon basin of South America
  • Coasts of West Africa
  • Zaire basin of central Africa
  • Within Malaysia

 

Characteristics of Tropical Rain forest

  1. As the name suggests, it rains throughout the year. The raining periods have two peaks. These 2 peaks within the year when we have the highest rainfall are sometimes referred to as the double maxima.
  2. The annual rainfall is over 2000mm.
  3. It’s overall temperature lie between 25oC – 37oC. There is a very brief annual range of 2oC – 3oC.
  4. The tropical rainforest have a very high relative humidity.
  5. The trees have broad and evergreen leaves.
  6. The trees are heterogeneous. This implies that we have a great variety of trees here.
  7. The trees can be put into different layers, storey or canopies. These are the Upper canopy trees, Middle canopy trees, Lower canopy trees and Bottom canopy trees.
  8. Examples of trees found in the tropical rainforest include iroko, obeche, ebony and mahogany. These trees are a major source of hardwood. You can read on hardwood and softwood here.
  9. Plants such as climbers, creepers and epiphytes are very common in the tropical rainforest. Parasitic plants are commonly found here.

Climbers and creeper plants are regarded as plants in need of support as they grow. they will always need to be attached to some form of support while growing. Examples are pea plants and ivy plants.

An epiphyte is a non-parasitic plant that grows on another plant. It is believed to derive its moisture and nutrients from the air, rain, water or from debris accumulating around it. Examples are moss and orchids.

A parasitic plant is a plant that derives some or all of its nutrient from another living plant and eventually causes harm to it. Examples of parasitic plants are Striga or Rhinanthus.

 

b. Savanna

The savanna is also referred to as grassland because of the abundance of grass in this biome. Trees are relatively absent in the savanna. Savanna makes up about 20% of the lithosphere.

The lithosphere is the solid part of the earth.

Other parts of the earth are the hydrosphere (part of the earth containing water) and atmosphere (part of the earth containing air)

Grassland is sometimes considered as the middle line or transitional biome between the rain forest and the desert. We may group the grassland into two. These are:

  • Tropical Grassland or Savanna
  • Temperate Grassland or Savanna

 

Tropical Grassland

It is located between 5o North and 20o South of the equator. The tropical grassland is found in the following areas:

  • Central America
  • West Africa
  • Northern Australia
  • Some parts of East Africa
  • North West part of South America
  • South East Asia
  • Within Brazil
Characteristics of Tropical Savanna / Grassland
  1. As the name suggests, it comprises of tall grasses.
  2. The annual temperature range is about 11oC.
  3. The extreme/high temperature ranges from 21oC – 30oC.
  4. The annual rainfall is between 600 – 1500mm.
  5. We also have few short and scattered trees here
  6. In Africa and Australia, the grasses are called savanna. In Brazil, they are called campos while its called ilanos South America.
  7. The seasonal convectional rainfall has a single maximum.
  8. Examples of trees that make up the savanna include acacia, baobab and shea-butter.

 

Temperate Grassland

They are found in the following regions:

  • North America
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • South Africa
  • Asia
Characteristics of Temperate Grassland
  1. It has a very hot summer (with temperatures above 25oC) and cold winter (with temperatures below 0oC).
  2. The vegetation (grasses) is dependent on the continental climate where the temperate grassland is present.
  3. It has an average rainfall of 510mm.
  4. Heavy rainfall is not usually common here. Instead, the rainfall is light and convectional.
  5. The grasses have a uniform height and are shorter than those of the tropical grassland.
  6. Very few trees are present here.
  7. The grasses are named differently within the various regions where they are found. The names are:
  • The Downs of Australia
  • The Steppe of central Europe and Russia
  • The Veld of South Africa
  • The Pampas of Argentina
  • The Prairies of North America

Topics in Biology

Introduction to Biology Types of Arterial Disorders Homeostasis and Negative Feedback Mechanism Characteristics of Reptiles Characteristics of Protists Amazing facts in Biology Autotrophic mode of Nutrition Desert and Swamp Forest with their characteristics Tropical Rainforest and Savanna with their characteristics Red Blood Cells and Hemoglobin




Topics in Biology

Introduction to Biology Types of Arterial Disorders Homeostasis and Negative Feedback Mechanism Characteristics of Reptiles Characteristics of Protists Amazing facts in Biology Autotrophic mode of Nutrition Desert and Swamp Forest with their characteristics Tropical Rainforest and Savanna with their characteristics Red Blood Cells and Hemoglobin



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