Endangered Plants in a Tropical Savanna

Written by will gish
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Endangered Plants in a Tropical Savanna
Many grassland species are cleared to make way for livestock or crop farming. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

The basic definition of a savannah is: grassland in a tropical region. However, grasslands occurring in subtropical regions are also commonly referred to as savannahs. True savannahs, or tropical grasslands, occur throughout the world, from South America to Africa, Australia, and India. Most literature regarding endangered species in these regions focuses on animals (elephants, large cats), though there are sources describing endangered plant species. Endangered species include types of grass and grassland trees.

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Brigalow

Brigalow is a species of acacia tree (Acacia harpophylla) that grows in the tropical grasslands of Australia. The tree is present in an area of eastern Australia known as the Brigalow Belt. According to the World Wildlife Fund, brigalow occurs in forests and tropical savannahs, often abutting eucalyptus woodlands, and is endangered. Brigalow flourishes in fertile clay soils, which are being cleared from the region and replaced with soils more suited to the growth of commercial crops. As such, the species has a difficult time taking root. Existing trees have been cleared en masse to make room for farms, thus furthering the species' endangerment.

Baobab

Baobab (Adansonia) is a genus of trees native to tropical grasslands throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Species of the tree are known to occur in the savannahs of Sudan and the island nation of Madagascar. According to Practical Action, a non-profit humanitarian and environmental organisation, several species of baobab trees are endangered. Large savannah animals, including elephants, eat the fruit of baobab trees. Baobab trees are used as sources of food and medicine by Sudanese people, as well as gathering places for community meetings. Species of baobab tree on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species are Adansonia grandidieri, Adansonia perrieri, and Adansonia suarezensis.

Pampas

Pampas is a tropical grassland savannah that covers large portions of Argentina and parts of Paraguay, Uruguay, and southern Brazil. The region is home to a number of grass species, including pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana). The pampas savannah is unique in that a number of its species, including pampas grass, are not in danger of extinction because they grow in other regions of the world (Texas, for instance), but the grassland itself is endangered. According to the World Wildlife Fund, little of the original region remains intact. Endangered species of the tropical grasslands of Argentina include Albizia edwarllii, Cedrela lilloi, and Caesalpinia paraguariensis.

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