Grasses also characterize steppes and savannas, where they form scattered tufts.
In the savannas are gigantic baobab trees.
On the east, the main cordillera abuts upon the region of plateaus and savannas, which occupies nearly half of the area of Nicaragua.
It is extensively distributed in the tropical parts of South and Central America, frequenting low swampy savannas, along the banks of rivers, and the depths of the humid forests, but is nowhere abundant.
In the savannas the most characteristic trees are the monkey bread tree or baobab (Adansonia digitata), doom palm (Hyphaene) and euphorbias.
The open savannas are the home of large ungulates, especially antelopes, the giraffe (peculiar to Africa), zebra, buffalo, wild ass and four species of rhinoceros; and of carnivores, such as the lion, leopard, hyaena, &c. The okapi (a genus restricted to Africa) is found only in the dense forests of the Congo basin.
The rainfall, which also has an important bearing upor the culture of peoples, will be found on the whole to be greatest in the third zone and also in the eastern highlands, and of course least in the desert, the steppes and savannas standing midway between the two.
While the coast lands are either densely forested or covered with savannas or park-like country, the Futa Jallon tableland is mainly covered with short herbage.
The wooded savannas are mostly situated on the higher lands of the central zone, where the land dips down from the Mitumba Mountains to the Congo.
Panicum, a very polymorphic genus, and one of the largest in the order, is widely spread in all warm countries; together with species of Paspalum they form good forage grasses in the South American savannas and campos.
The elephant (though its range has become restricted through the attacks of hunters) is found both in the savannas and forest regions, the latter being otherwise poor in large game, though the special habitat of the chimpanzee and gorilla.