African Savannas

African savannas are unique and complex ecosystems under immense pressure. Savannas are very rich in biodiversity and provide indispensable ecosystem services to people. However, unsustainable resource extraction practices, rapid demographic growth, weak governance structures and conflicting socio-economic development and environmental objectives have led to partially irreversible changes in land use and land cover. The vast African savanna systems have largely been converted into managed landscapes, including agricultural and settlement areas. Indeed, whereas savannas continue to be home to iconic wildlife, they are also the “breadbasket” of the continent, providing much of Africa’s cropland and grazing areas. One of the greatest future challenges in savanna areas will be to adapt to the everchanging environmental conditions, to conserve their biodiversity, maintain ecosystem functionality and ecosystem service provision, and concurrently to provide food for the human population. Nature-based approaches such as ecosystem-based management and green infrastructure could be part of the solution here.