Late fall savanna in sepia tones, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, San Antonio NM, November 26, 2016

Sepia Savanna

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, San Antonio NM

November 26, 2016

Sepia Savanna

The fall colors can be magnificent at the Bosque but by this late in the season most have faded to browns, lending a special beauty to the grasslands that I particularly like in the low light of the morning. This shot wasn't taken particularly early in the morning but the overcast sky softened the shadows nicely.


A savanna or savannah is a mixed woodland grassland ecosystem characterised by the trees being sufficiently widely spaced so that the canopy does not close. The open canopy allows sufficient light to reach the ground to support an unbroken herbaceous layer consisting primarily of grasses.

Savannas maintain an open canopy despite a high tree density. It is often believed that savannas feature widely spaced, scattered trees. However, in many savannas, tree densities are higher and trees are more regularly spaced than in forests. The South American savanna types cerrado sensu stricto and cerrado dense typically have densities of trees similar to or higher than that found in South American tropical forests, with savanna ranging 800 to 3300 trees/hectare and adjacent forests with 800 to 2000 trees/hectare. Similarly Guinean savanna has 129 trees/ha, compared to 103 for riparian forest, while Eastern Australian sclerophyll forests have average tree densities of approximately 100 per hectare, comparable to savannas in the same region.

Savannas are also characterised by seasonal water availability, with the majority of rainfall confined to one season; they are associated with several types of biomes, and are frequently in a transitional zone between forest and desert or grassland. Savanna covers approximately 20% of the Earth's land area.