Benefits of Biodiversity to people: Savanna

Presented by:  Mkhize, Makhalemele, Baloyi, Mabalane

THE savannah biome makes up 46 percent of southern Africa and more than 33 percent of South Africa, according to the South African National Biodiversity institute. The area receives between nine and 39 inches of rain within a few months, followed by long periods of dry weather. The terrain consists of grasses and shrubs that provide habitat to hundreds of species of animals and birds.

Provisioning services

Most savannas provide vegetation. These vegetation types are used for grazing, mainly by cattle or game. In the southernmost savanna types, goats are major stock. In some types crops and subtropical fruit are cultivated. These mainly include the clay thorn bushveld, parts of mixed bushveld and sweet lowveld bushveld. Urbanization is not a problem, perhaps because the hot, moist climate and the diseases hindered urban development.  It is known for having the Famous “BIG FIVE”, the lion, rhino, leopard, buffalo and elephant.

Two Rhinoceros grazing on the side of the road in the Kruger National Park. Photo courtesy of Mrs De Vos.

Regulating services

Climate: summers are hot and wet and the winters are cool with little or no rain. Frost occurs in winter.

Soil and geography: The soil is red/ black clay, red/yellow, grey soil and is often sandy. It is as well, lacking in nutrients

Water supply: montane grassland and fynbos are the great “collectors” of rain water in South Africa. They reduce immediate runoff and thus erosion, hold the water as ground water or in wetlands and release it slowly throughout the year through seepage zones. A sort of sponge effect

The southern montane grasslands of Mpumalanga, for example, provide a year-round water supply essential for the cooling of the power generators of the Highveld power stations (Department of water Affairs, 1986)-power

Cultural services

Tropical savanna systems possess significant wild Fodder diversity that supports nature- based tourism revenue (both extractive and non-extractive) and substance livelihood (food, medicinal plants and construction material) in addition to cultural, regulating and supporting services.

Kruger National Park:

The vast Kruger National Park presents almost endless opportunities to explore the savannah. The park, located in South Africa, includes decent roads that take you close to the park’s wildlife, including 147 different mammals and more than 500 species of birds. The park provides 12 different camps, with Orpen and Crocodile Bridge offering campsites close to the park’s gates. All of the camps except for the two near the park gates feature grocery stores and restaurant facilities.

Support services

Savanna include tropical grassland savannas grass-dominated with 10-50% tree cover. The temperature grassland contain a substantial soil carbon pool, are important for maintaining soil stability and provide Fauna wild and domestic animals.





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