Definition of savannah
From 1986 The Savannahs: Biogeography
and Geobotany, by Monica M. Cole (Department of Geography, Royal Holloway
and Bedford New College, University of London). Academic Press: London.
"An understanding of the problems
that have beset the formulation of an agreed definition of savannas requires
consideration of the origin, historical and present use of the word."
"The term savanna is believed
to originate from an Amerindian word which, in a work on the Indies published
in 1535, was used by Oviedo y Valdes to describe 'land which is without
trees but with much grass either tall or short'.
(1872), Drude (1890) and Schimper (1903) extended its use to include grasslands
with trees and thereafter the term was used to describe the mixed trees
and grass types of vegetation found in all tropical latitudes."
In central and southern Africa
savanna is used for open deciduous woodlands, including those locally known
as miombo, that are composed of fairly tall, mesophyllous trees and a well
defined grass stratum, for parklike vegetation comprising grasslands studded
with microphyllous trees of low to medium height, for grasslands with
scattered clumps of trees or bushes, for treeless grasslands of tall perennial
mesophytic grasses and of short annual grasses mixed with perennial grasses
with narrow rolled leaves, and for open forms of vegetation composed of
scattered low growing microphyllous trees and shrubs and a ground layer
of perennial and annual grasses.
The term bushveld is used locally for
the parklike forms of savanna which together with the low tree and shrub
forms are regarded as the most typical savannas."