The Physical Environment
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Earth Biomes

Savanna Biome

Thorntree and Tropical Scrub

The Thorntree and Tropical Scrub is characterized by short, thorny trees and shrubs. Trees The vegetation may form a continuous cover eliminating grasses. This vegetation formation is a response to a longer, and more intense drought period. 

savanna_thorntree_UN.jpg (10389 bytes)Figure 13.17 Livestock grazing severely damages the thorntree savanna leading to problems of desertification. Burkina Faso* (Picture credit: Carolyn Redenius, United Nations)

The thorntree and tropical scrub has suffered under the misuse of human activity. Overgrazing has reduced the capacity of the system to withstand the erosive forces of wind, and to a lesser extent water. Without the protective restraint plants, soil and sand, along with valuable soil nutrients, can blow free from the surface. Deserts are rapidly encroaching and replacing the savannas and steppe grasslands. Many years of prolonged drought combined with human pressures on the biome increases the likelihood for desertification of these areas. Web Link Icon - Deccan thorn scrub forests

Midlatitude Savanna

Figure 13.18 Bald Top Oak Savanna, Oregon. Oak Savanna
(Photo Credit: US FWS Source)

A Midlatitude savanna is sometimes called a parkland. Here, grasses are broken by patches or ribbons of broadleaf trees. The midlatitude savanna is located in a transitional area between the humid continental and midlatitude steppe climates.  Parkland often is a step in the successional evolution of plant communities on abandoned farm fields of the eastern United States. For more see "Prairie Parkland (Temperate) Province ".


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For Citation: Ritter, Michael E. The Physical Environment: an Introduction to Physical Geography.
2006. Date visited.  ../title_page.html

Michael Ritter (

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