Flooded grasslands and savannas

Common to four of the continents on Earth are large expanses or complexes of flooded grasslands. These areas support numerous plants and animals adapted to the unique hydrologic regimes and soil conditions.

Large congregations of migratory and resident waterbirds may be found in these regions.

However, the relative importance of these habitat types for these birds as well as more vagile taxa typically varies as the availability of water and productivity annually and seasonally shifts among complexes of smaller and larger wetlands throughout a region.

Some globally outstanding flooded savannas and grasslands occur in the Everglades, Pantanal, Sahelian flooded savannas, Zambezian flooded savannas, and the Sudd.

The Everglades are the world’s largest rain-fed flooded grassland on a limestone substrate, and feature some 11,000 species of seed-bearing plants, 25 varieties of orchids, 300 bird species, and 150 fish species.

The Pantanal, one of the largest continental wetlands on Earth, supports over 260 species of fish, 700 birds, 90 mammals, 160 reptiles, 45 amphibians, 1,000 butterflies, and 1,600 species of plants. The flooded savannas and grasslands are generally the largest complexes in each region.

Biodiversity Patterns
Most terrestrial species have relatively widespread ranges in these habitats; alpha and beta diversity are not pronounced; endemism in terrestrial species is low.

Minimum Requirements
Maintaining hydrographic integrity is critical to these habitats; many species track flooding patterns and seasonal abundance of resources; riparian and gallery habitats are important for many species.

Sensitivity to Disturbance
Diversion and channelization of water flow greatly impact the integrity of these habitats; loss of riparian and gallery habitats can impact wildlife populations; sensitive to water quality changes from pollution and eutrophication; alteration of natural fire regimes may shift composition and structure of communities.



Southern Africa: Northern Botswana
Africa: Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia
Saharan flooded grasslands
Lake Chad flooded savanna
Africa: Mali
Southwestern Africa: Northern Namibia
Eastern Africa: Northern Tanzania, on the border with Kenya


Southern Asia: Western India into Pakistan


Southern South America: Northeastern Argentina
Southern South America: Eastern Argentina
Central South America: Southwestern Brazil, into Bolivia and Paraguay
Northern South America: Northeastern Venezuela
Western South America: Western Ecuador
Caribbean: Island of Hispaniola
Mexico: State of Michoacán


Eastern Asia: Eastern coast of China
Eastern Asia: Eastern China into Russia
Tigris-Euphrates alluvial salt marsh
Northern Africa: Northern Egypt, western Tunisia, with patches in Algeria, Mauritania, and Western Sahara
Nile Delta flooded savanna
Eastern Asia: Northern China
Eastern Asia: Northeast China
Eastern Asia: Southeastern Russia and northeastern China