Plants in Serengeti National Park
Plants in Serengeti National Park form the oldest ecosystem in the entire world and the largest ecosystem in the whole world. The Serengeti-Mara ecosystem occupies around 30,000 square kilometers running from the famous Masai Mara National Reserve of Kenya down to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area passing through Serengeti national park. The world-renown ecosystem is a stage of the world’s second-largest and famous animal migration that is called the wildebeest migration. The spectacular migration is composed of over 1.5 million blue wildebeests scientifically called Connochgaetes taurinus) over 200,000 Zebras also called (Equua burchelli) over 400,000 Thomson gazelles (Gazella thomsoni) and other plain animals. The wildebeest takes the name of the migration due to the fact that they are the ones who lead the movement, who contribute to the highest number in the team.
The movement is a clockwise direction trans boundaries occurring in specific times of the year. They follow the weather and the rainfall partners however much the exact day of crossing is not known but the crossing period is known.
Plants in Serengeti national park are dominated by the open savannah grasslands also sometimes called the Volcanic grasslands that are located in the Border of Tanzania and Kenya. The park is close to the Equator just 2°and 4° in the South. The closeness of the park to the equator greatly creates the direct impact of the climatic conditions of the region hence determining the Serengeti national park plants.
According to the metrological stations around the national park, the Serengeti national park receives two rainy seasons with one which falls early from March to May being longer and the brief rains experienced around November. The dry spell takes longer from June to October and from December up to February hence escalating the annual movement of the wildebeests who move to look for green pasture and fresh drinking water.
In Temperatures, Serengeti national park receives an average temperature between 24°C to 27°C during the dry season and 15°C to 21°C during the rainy season. The average rainfall totals vary from region to region and this affects the different Serengeti national park plants. In the North near the shores of Lake Victoria, the rainfalls are high while in the North East the rainfalls are low. The rainfall season falls from March to May and later November. The uneven distribution of the rainfall across the Serengeti national park has contributed to different vegetation covers across the park hence different tree species. The different Serengeti national park plants also contribute directly to the location of different wildlife species across the park, for example, the Black Rhinos are mostly found in the North where the vegetation is thick, the leopards found in Seronera area where there are Acacia trees while the wildebeests are commonly found in the southern part where the grass is shot.
The plants in Serengeti national park are dominated by the short grass covering ¾ of the park dotted with acacia tree species. According to different studies conducted in Serengeti national park, there are over 314 plant species recorded at the park. The Serengeti ecosystem is the largest not only in Tanzania but entire Africa that covers the matrix of both protected areas and unprotected areas. The ecosystem has been for decades without any changes however much the population is threatening to cause changes in biodiversity due to the high speed growing population. According to the study case that was conducted at the park, the Serengeti national park plants species composition, vegetation structure, diversity and distribution in the entire Serengeti Ecosystem that the plant species that are found in unprotected areas of Serengeti were highly composing compared to those in protected Area.
The Serengeti ecosystem is characterized by a wide range of spectrum of habitats like Riverine Forests, open grasslands, woodlands, wooded grasslands, shrubs and many more. These act as different habitats for wildlife hence boosting the wide range of wildlife species in the park. The different Serengeti national park plant species act as different food species for wildlife.
According to Moshi (2000), the rate of disturbance imposed by the locals to the vegetation has increased and has contributed to the high growth rate of the colonizing plant species in the area like Themeda triandra, Sesbania Sesban, Hibiscus hybrids, stringa Asiatica, Vernonia poskeana and others.
The most common weed found in Serengeti national park especially around the unprotected areas is Argemone Mexicana and Elionurus muticus, they are unpalatable grass to livestock. The tree species which most large animals like Elephants, lions, Leopards, Giraffes and others use as teritori demarcations are distributed to Areas that receive certain level of rainfall in a year. Others use these plant species for browsing, feeding, and nestling.
There are about 15 alien plant species in Serengeti national park which are distributed across the park. 80% of the total alien tree species are found along the roads and camps just 50 meters away. The most common plant species in Serengeti are Acacia trees, Acacia tortilis, Acacia Drepanolobium, Kigelia (the Sausage tree). Safaris to Serengeti national park or Africa is mostly fauna (wildlife) especially the big 5 but Serengeti has more to offer than that in the form of flora. The dependency of wildlife on flora makes the two to leave well and all be valuable to each other. Trees offer shade, shelter, food and hunting areas for the predators. The vast range of plants in Serengeti national park has attracted a wide range of animal species to the park. Without the plants or flora, your safari to Serengeti national park would look completely different. No scenic views, the green cover of the park instead be only dust.