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Tropical rainforests cover eight percent of Africa and are located primarily along the equator in West Africa. Rainforests receive more than 60 inches of rain per year, with at least 2 inches falling each month.
Tropical rainforests cover eight percent of Africa and are located primarily along the equator in West Africa.
Rainforests receive more than 60 inches of rain per year, with at least 2 inches falling each month.
Temperatures in the rainforest are constant, ranging between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
This warm, wet region supports the earth’s most diverse and abundant flora (plant life), and is best known for its large hardwood trees, like teak and mahogany.
The constant rains wash away all of the forest floor’s soil, leaving behind clay.
This clay supports the lush jungle but will not support non-native plants, except in a few cultivated areas.
The many fruits, nuts, seeds, leaves, and flowers produced by this dense vegetation attract a vast array of animals, many of which live in the high forest treetops.
Few ungulates (hoofed animals such as horses, cattle, and deer) are present because of the deadly tse-tse fly.
The bite of this blood-sucking insect carries sleeping sickness, which is harmful to humans and fatal to most ungulates.
Spreading north and south from the rainforest belt is Africa’s largest and most varied climate region: the savanna, or grasslands that change with the seasons.
Near the deserts, the grasslands are more open, supporting a few trees that can survive without much water.
Africa’s most heavily populated region is called the temperate (changing with the seasons) savanna. This region receives its entire rainfall in one wet season, which is followed by a dry season with no rain.
During the rainy period, which is 4 to 8 months long, the savanna blooms with an abundance of tall, thick rich grasses and flowering plants.
During the dry season, all but the strongest trees and bushes dies, except in the wooded savanna where forests survive year round.
The savanna supports huge herds of migrating ungulates (hoofed animals such as zebras, gazelles, and giraffes) and the large predators that feed on them such as lions and cheetahs.
Heavy seasonal rains and closeness to the rainforests give the savanna wide, slow-moving rivers in the west and south and a long chain
of lakes in the east.
Between the savanna and the deserts lies a band of harsh, barren grasslands called the semiarid region.
This region experiences very hot daytime temperatures for most the year (as high as 110 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer).
It has a seasonal rainfall of 10 to 20 inches per year, an amount so small and unpredictable that destructive droughts occur often.
Throughout most of the semiarid region, water is so scarce that agriculture is possible only near oases or wells.
In the northern semiarid strip, called the Sahel, permanent water sources like the Niger River and Lake Chad make agriculture possible.
The semiarid region supports well-adapted flora (plant life): thorny bushes that grow small, waxy leaves; tufts of scattered, stumpy grasses that can become thick in years with strong rainy seasons….
And hearty trees that can survive droughts, like the 100-foot-tall baobob tree!
Fauna (animal life), such as tortoises and camels, survives in the grasslands by developing ways to find or store water.
Deserts are located in the north and the south, cutting off the interior of the continent from the northern and southern coasts.
In order to reach these coasts by crossing the desert, humans must survive harsh conditions.
Daytime desert temperatures are higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer months, and sometimes as high as 140 degrees!!!
Few people live in the harsh desert regions, where rainfall is less than 10 inches a year and evaporates quickly in the intense heat!
In the Kalahari Desert, flora (plant life) is limited to hearty plants that have adapted to the lack of moisture. Trees and thick brush are located at rare water holes.
Some animals are nocturnal (active at night) in order to take advantage of cooler night temperatures...
…other animals survive by moving between scattered water sources during the day.
Vast stretches of the Namib and Sahara Deserts have NO plant or animal life at all and are instead covered with rock or soft, shifting sand.