East Sudanian Savanna
Location and description
This is the eastern half of the broad savanna belt which runs east and west across Africa, this section lying east of the Cameroon Highlands. The Sahel belt of drier acacia savanna lies to the north and beyond that is the Sahara Desert, while to the south lies the humid forests of the DR Congo.
The Sudd flooded grasslands of southern Sudan divide this area into eastern and western blocks. The land is mainly flat, although there are some hillier sections around Lake Albert and in western Ethiopia.
- the western block covers portions of northern Cameroon, southernmost Chad, northern Central African Republic, and southeastern South Sudan.
- the eastern block lies in a belt stretching from northern Uganda along the Sudan-Ethiopia border region, bounded on the east by the western lowlands of Ethiopia and to the south by the Victoria Basin forest-savanna mosaic of Uganda.
The climate is tropical with a rainy season (from April to October) and a dry season.
Typical species are deciduous Terminalia trees with and undergrowth of shrubs and grasses such as Combretum and tall elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum). There are more than 1,000 endemic plant species.
Threatened species include the African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana) (in Chad and the CAE), East African wild dog (Lycaon pictus lupinus), Northeast African cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus soemmeringii), African leopard (Panthera pardus paruds), lion (Panthera leo), and giant eland (Taurotragus derbianus).
Urban areas and settlements
In Cameroon the region is more or less contiguous with the North Region, where Bénoué National Park and Bouba Njida National Park contain some of the endangered species mentioned above. In Chad East Sudanian savanna covers the south including the industrial city of Moundou, Chad's second largest city, the oil town of Doba and the cotton-growing towns of Sarh and Pala. In the Central African Republic the region covers the sparsely populated north of the country, the larger towns include Bossangoa. In Sudan west of the Sudd swamp east Sudanian savanna covers the Bahr el Ghazal area including the town of Wau. East of the Sudd the ecoregion runs north to south from northern Uganda, through south-eastern Sudan east of the White Nile (including the area around the southern cities of Juba and Eastern Equatoria around Torit), and up along the Sudan-Ethiopia border. Here in Gambela is the proposed Gambela National Park. Much of this area has seen combat in recent decades and is in various states of reconstruction.
Threats and preservation
Seasonal cultivation and herding are lifestyles which lead the population of the savanna to overgraze, overharvest the trees for firewood or charcoal and cause fires. This has reduced the woodland considerably. However large areas of unspoilt habitat remain even outside protected areas, especially compared with the more heavily populated West Sudanian Savanna.
Poaching is another problem, indeed the black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) and northern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) were formerly native to the ecoregion but have been eliminated through over-hunting.
There are national parks at the edges of the region, in Cameroon and Ethiopia, and other protected areas but most of these are severely under-resourced, and apart from hunting for sport in the Central African Republic there is very little wildlife-based tourism.