American savannahs

In Latin America, the savannahs are called vàrzeas; in areas with rocky basements and little soil, the savannahs are called campo rupestre; in Brazil they are very woody, look like dry forests and are called cerrado. The tierra firme are like the African savannahs even if they are rainier and wetter during the dry season and there are also fewer fires. In the Amazonian region, there are small savannahs, which become larger north of the Amazon. The vàrzeas are, instead, open savannahs which are situated between the Rio Negro and the Xingu and around the Orinoco and which are flooded during the rainy season. Later on, as the dry season arrives, the land dries up and herbs and shrubs (i.e. Artemisia artemisifolia) quickly spring up; there are also palms (i.e. Mauritia flexuosa) or trees that resist floods and long dry spells. This mass of trees and shrubs (matas) may look like islands in a sea of dry or half-buried grass. Between Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay, below the Mato Grosso, there is the Chacò region with abundant but irregular rains. Here grow the Copernicia palms that can resist long dry spells.
In this area the fauna consists of many birds (e.g. cockerel, rhea), pumas, jaguars, hares, bats and many insects (crickets, ants, flies, etc.).

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From the Multimedia section

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Facts

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    In the old times, parks were set up as game "preserves" for the exclusive benefit of the upper classes: game…

    Eating or being eaten?

    In the savannah, we can often find physiological adaptations in both the herbivores and the plants they feed on. To…

    A heavenly garden

    In Cornwall huge sphere greenhouses were built: huge bubbles made up of plastic hexagons with a metallic framework. Inside these…

  • A frozen mammoth

    During the Pleistocene (approximately 1.5 million years ago), the tundra covered all central Europe and was inhabited by spectacular animals,…

    Mediterranean diet

    Since the people who live in the Mediterranean basin live to a particularly old age and are immune from degenerative…

    Why the old ladies?

    Thomas Huxley (1825-1895), a famous English biologist, tried to explain the complexity of natural processes in an original way, and…

  • The concentration of elements

    In nature the quantity of elements is extremely important: the substances that are necessary to living organisms are often more…

    Flour and forest perfumes

    Forest produce is also quite valuable and can be picked in any season: berries in summer, mushrooms in autumn and…

    Myths and legends of the forest

    The dark and mysterious shadows of the forest are populated by fabulous creatures that have existed in men’s dreams for…

  • 16 May 2011

    From game “preserves” to natural reserves

    In the old times, parks were set up as game "preserves" for the exclusive benefit of the upper classes: game…

    Eating or being eaten?

    In the savannah, we can often find physiological adaptations in both the herbivores and the plants they feed on. To…

  • A heavenly garden

    In Cornwall huge sphere greenhouses were built: huge bubbles made up of plastic hexagons with a metallic framework. Inside these…

    17 May 2011

    A frozen mammoth

    During the Pleistocene (approximately 1.5 million years ago), the tundra covered all central Europe and was inhabited by spectacular animals,…

  • 16 May 2011

    Mediterranean diet

    Since the people who live in the Mediterranean basin live to a particularly old age and are immune from degenerative…

    Why the old ladies?

    Thomas Huxley (1825-1895), a famous English biologist, tried to explain the complexity of natural processes in an original way, and…

  • From game “preserves” to natural reserves

    In the old times, parks were set up as game "preserves" for the exclusive benefit of the upper classes: game…

  • Eating or being eaten?

    In the savannah, we can often find physiological adaptations in both the herbivores and the plants they feed on. To…

  • A heavenly garden

    In Cornwall huge sphere greenhouses were built: huge bubbles made up of plastic hexagons with a metallic framework. Inside these…