Difference Between Savanna And Grassland

Although grasslands and savannas are similar, they are not the same ecosystems. Due to the two biomes’ ecological similarities and the overlapping, confusing vocabulary used to describe them, it can be difficult to tell one from the other.

Other grasslands are often called “temperate grasslands,” whereas savannas are known as “tropical grasslands”. Here, we will go into more detail on the distinctions between savanna and grassland.

What is Savanna? Characteristics & Flora And Fauna

A savanna is a grassland. In more detail, the term “savanna” refers to the region of flora that lies between the desert and tropical rainforest. Thus, “savanna” refers to tropical or subtropical vegetation.

The leading cause of typical savanna vegetation is the fluctuating humid environment of the tropical regions where savannas are mostly found. Strong seasonal contrasts between the dry and wet seasons define savannas. 

Savannas have a climate that lies halfway between those tropical rainforests and the desert trade wind zone. Temperatures in the summertime generally reach around 30 degrees Celsius. Low precipitation levels prevent major vegetation. 

The enormous Acacia Plains of East Africa, the Savanna of Venezuela, the Australian Savanna, Serengeti Plains of Tanzania are just a few examples of the many distinct types of Savanna ecosystems that may be found on Earth.

Characteristics of Savanna

Savanna” is most commonly used to describe grassy habitats with many woody plant covers, such as trees or shrubs. Below are the characteristics of a savanna:

  • Trees and grasses: The savanna is an open grassland with a few solitary trees and bushes here and there.
  • Enormous herds of animals:  The savanna is frequently home to enormous herds of livestock that graze that thrive on plentiful grass and trees.
  • Warm: The savanna is generally comfortable year-round. While it gets a little cooler during the summer, it stays warm and muggy during the wet season.
  • Nutrient and soil: Concerning fertility, the soil form in the savanna habitat needs to be improved. Since the soil has extremely few nutrients, it could be better quality. However, some nutrients can also be found at the soil’s surface because of the breakdown of organic matter.
  • Savanna ecosystem fires: In the savanna grasslands, fire frequently occurs. Seeing grasslands in the Savanna habitat burn during the dry season is expected. Savanna grassland can catch fire when lightning strikes, especially during the dry season. In a savanna, a fire burns the old, dry grass to make room for new growth.

Flora in Savanna

Savanna has relatively little vegetation, primarily extensive grasslands, and few trees and plants. Poor flora in the Savanna environment is mainly caused by low rainfall and a dry climate.

Due to the scarcity of trees, the savanna is sometimes known as grassland, as its name suggests. The Savanna ecosystem’s unfavorable climate prevents many plants from flourishing. Below are some plants in the savanna.

  • Gum Tree Eucalyptus
  • Jackalberry Tree
  • Baobab
  • Whistling Thorn
  • Elephant Grass
  • Acacia Senegal
  • Candelabra Tree
  • Beruda Grass
  • Manketti Tree

Fauna in Savanna

Numerous animal species can find refuge in the savanna ecosystem, including insects, grazing animals, mammals, and others. Zebras, leopards, buffalo, elephants, giraffes, cheetahs, lions, rhinoceroses, and other large species are found in the Savanna ecosystem.

The grazing herbivores, which often live in a herd, are abundant in the Savanna ecosystem. These herbivores depend on their quickness to protect themselves from predators; sadly, slow ones fall victim to predators. Other animals in the savanna include:

  • Snakes
  • Kangaroos
  • Crocodiles
  • Black Mamba
  • Nile Crocodile
  • Meerkats
  • Baboons
  • African Wild Dog
  • Blesbok
  • Aardwolf

What is a Grassland? Characteristics & Flora And Fauna

Vast land expanses, known as grasslands, are entirely devoid of trees. Large trees cannot grow here since the environment is drier than tropical grasslands or savanna.

Grassland has two different seasons with notable temperature differences. The temperature can rise above 140 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and fall below zero in winter.

Here, the earth is incredibly fertile and dark brown. Most plants have extensive roots that extend far underground and help the vegetation endure the sweltering summer months. 

Characteristics of Grassland

Knowing the characteristics of the grassland ecosystem is necessary if you wish to comprehend it better. The following characteristics will help to characterize the grassland ecosystem:

  • The grasslands ecosystem, which makes up almost 25% of the planet’s land surface, receives relatively little rainfall yearly. There is little rain in this area; hence there is no forest growth. Additionally vulnerable to drought and erratic precipitation is the grassland ecology.
  • The temperature differs significantly all year round in the temperate grassland region. Temperate grasslands experience extreme heat in the summer and extreme cold in the winter.
  • Another essential feature of the grassland environment is poor vegetation. Because of the vast area covered in grass fields, this habitat is known as grassland. In hectares of grassland areas, trees are incredibly scarce. 
  • Grasslands have essential qualities, one of which is fires. The dry grass quickly catches fire due to the dry conditions and flashlights. The development of grasses in fields is increased by regular fire in grasslands, but the growth of trees is restricted.

Flora in Grassland

Grasslands are regarded as locations where grasses are more predominant over large bushes or trees. Below are some of the plants in the grassland ecosystem:

  • Buffalo Grass
  • Sunflowers
  • Psoraleas
  • Purple Needlegrass
  • Galleta
  • Goldenrods
  • Cclovers
  • Wild Indigo

Fauna in Grassland

Due to their unique and varied environment, grasslands are home to many creatures, some of which are incredibly rare. Below are some of the animals in the grassland ecosystem:

  • Gazelles
  • Coyotes
  • Lions
  • Hawks
  • Grasshoppers
  • Spiders
  • Prairie Dogs
  • Rhinoceroses
  • Snakes
  • Meadowlarks

Savannas Vs. Grassland: What’s The Difference?

Savannas and grasslands primarily differ in that grasslands lack trees and contain dense concentrations of grass, whereas savannas feature sporadic trees here and there.

Two distinct kinds of biomes mostly contain grass: savanna and grassland. Savanna and grassland differ in various ways, despite sharing many characteristics.

Differences Between Savanna and Grassland

Savanna and grassland are two types of ecosystems that are often confused with each other. While they share some similarities, there are also some key differences between them. What distinguishes a savanna from a grassland, then? Rather than the amount of grass, the proportion of trees distinguishes a grassland from a savannah at its most basic level.

Savanna is a type of tropical grassland that is characterized by scattered trees and shrubs. It is typically found in regions with a warm climate and distinct wet and dry seasons. Savannas are home to a diverse range of wildlife, including large grazing animals such as zebras, giraffes, and antelopes.

Grasslands, on the other hand, are areas where the vegetation is dominated by grasses rather than trees or shrubs. They can be found in both tropical and temperate regions and are often characterized by a lack of trees. Grasslands are also home to a variety of wildlife, including grazing animals such as bison and pronghorns.

One of the key differences between savanna and grassland is the presence of trees. Savannas have scattered trees and shrubs, while a lack of trees characterizes grasslands.

Additionally, savannas tend to have a more tropical climate with distinct wet and dry seasons, while grasslands can be found in both tropical and temperate regions.

In terms of wildlife, both savannas and grasslands are home to large grazing animals. However, savannas tend to have a greater diversity of wildlife, including predators such as lions and hyenas, while grasslands are often home to large herds of grazing animals.

Savannas are a form of grassland that is primarily found in tropical areas. Savannas often receive more rainfall than grasslands, which allows them to back a few more trees, though not enough of them to form canopies.

Temperate grassland is a broad term for other kinds of grassland. Year-round seasonal fluctuations in these grasslands cause their hot summers and chilly winters. Savannas have a tropical climate, whereas grasslands are dry and chilly.

Savanna soil is not highly fertile, yet grassland soil appears brown and fertile. Savannas are covered in tall trees, but grasslands are essentially treeless plains.

While grasslands can be found in regions like Eurasia, North America, New Zealand, and Australia, savannas can be found in regions both north and south of the tropical rainforest at the equator.

Rainfall in savannas is higher than in grasslands. Savannas get more rain than other types of terrain, so there are more trees there, but they do not grow into canopies. On the other hand, the grassland climate does not support the development of large trees.

Types of Savanna and Grassland

Although grasslands and savannas are similar, they are not the same ecosystems. “Tropical grasslands” is another name for savannas, while “temperate grasslands” is the generic term for other grasslands. 

Types of Savanna

Simple distinctions between savannas include the open savanna, where grass predominates and trees are uncommon, and the wooded savanna, surrounded by forest or open woodland with the greatest density of trees. The types of savannah are:

  • Tropical Savanna
  • Mediterranean Savanna
  • Subtropical and Temperate Savanna
  • Montane Savanna
  • Flooded Savanna

Types of Grassland 

Large fields with grasses, herbs, and only a few scattered trees make up a grassland habitat. Inconsistent precipitation is one of the critical causes of poor vegetation in the grassland environment. 

The six major categories of grasslands include tropical grasslands, flooded grassland ecosystems, temperate grasslands, arctic grasslands, Xeric grassland, and montane grasslands ecosystems.

Importance of Savannas and Grasslands

Savannas and grasslands, the two types of biomes, mostly contain grass. Although they have their differences and similarities, these biomes have importance to humans and animals. Below are the importance of savannahs.

  • It provides fuel wood.
  • Helps in job generation.
  • It provides food for animals and humans.
  • It provides a habitat for animals.
  • It provides herbs for medicines.
  • It attracts tourism.

The importance of grasslands includes:

  • It serves as a source of food for both humans and animals. 
  • It provides honey and hay.
  • It serves as a source of water supply.
  • It prevents erosion.
  • It acts as a carbon sink. 


Major biomes on our globe, savannas, and grasslands encompass a huge region across numerous continents. Savanna and grassland are distinct, even though the grass is their common and defining feature. 

Few trees can grow in the former, but only grass can in the latter. However, in these largely dry and warm landmasses, the grassland and savanna support a variety of fauna and ecosystems home to thousands of species.

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About Rinkesh

A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe.