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Desertification


Explain the causes, acceleration, consequences and management of desertification, including land use, conflict and climate change

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Desertification


Explain the causes, acceleration, consequences and management of desertification, including land use, conflict and climate change

Write your own definition of desertification, without referring to any sources of information.

 
 
 
Desertification is the process by which fertile land becomes desert, typically as a result of drought, deforestation, or inappropriate agriculture.
 
 

GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION

Describe the global distribution of areas with very high desertification risk (3 marks)

 
 

KEY TERMS

 
 
 
 

causes and development of desertification

 
 

CASE STUDY: MANAGING desertification IN SENEGAL

 
 

Map showing the Sahel region and changes to vegetation cover during 2011

 
 
 

MANAGING DESERTIFICATION

CASE STUDY: ACACIA PROJECT, SENEGAL

In what ways is the Acacia Project helping to fight desertification in Senegal? To what extent have these measures been successful?

 

SUSTAINABLE FARMING METHODS

Draw a labelled diagram explaining how stone lines and planting pits can make agricultural practices more sustainable.

 
 

case study: DESERTIFICATION IN niger

 Map showing location of Niger in Northern Africa

Map showing location of Niger in Northern Africa

 Map showing population density and distribution in Niger

Map showing population density and distribution in Niger

 
 
 
 
 

TASSA METHOD IN NIGER

SUSTAINABLE FARMING IN THE SAHEL

 
 

REVIEW

 
 

exam practice

"Agriculture in hot, arid areas inevitably results in desertification". Discuss this statement. (10 marks)

 

mark scheme

Candidates are expected to consider points on both sides of this question. The strongest responses may choose to challenge the statement, and may well conclude that while agriculture in such areas may result in desertification, such an impact is by no means inevitable but depends, in part, on the nature of the agriculture involved. Careful choice of crops, cultivation techniques and continuous monitoring may enable successful small-scale or commercial agriculture in hot arid areas. It is likely to be easier to avoid desertification in areas where irrigation is possible than in areas where, for financial, technological, or other reasons, irrigation is not possible.

Desertification is often the result of unsustainable farming, in which more minerals and nutrients are taken out of the soil than are replenished, or where the density of grazing animals exceeds the normal carrying capacity. Some experts also attribute desertification in some areas to on-going climatic change.

Answers that consider only one side of the question should not be credited above band D. It is expected that answers reaching bands E and F will offer supporting evidence and/or exemplification before arriving at a clear conclusion to the question.

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Human Activity


Discuss the degree to which human activities in extreme environments are unsustainable.

Human Activity


Discuss the degree to which human activities in extreme environments are unsustainable.

"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

It contains within it two key concepts:

  • the concept of needs, in particular the essential needs of the world's poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and

  • the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organisation on the environment's ability to meet present and future needs."

Brundtland Report 1987

 

what is sustainability?

 
 

GROUP DISCUSSION

To what extent are human activities in extreme environments sustainable?

  1. Review your notes, this website and the study guide and prepare a response to the question.
  2. Write at least two paragraphs stating your position on this question, making reference to the case studies and examples studied.
  3. Be prepared to contribute to the discussion
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Impact


Discuss the potential impact of global climatic change (global warming) on the indigenous populations, settlement and economic activities in extreme environments.

Impact


Discuss the potential impact of global climatic change (global warming) on the indigenous populations, settlement and economic activities in extreme environments.

Climate change refers to a statistically significant variation in either the mean state of the climate or in its variability, persisting for an extended period (typically decades or longer). Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings, or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use.
— IPCC
 

the battle for the arctic in nunavut, canada

task

  1. Login to EdPuzzle and watch video
  2. Take notes while watching the video and respond to the questions
  3. Summarise the social, economic, environmental and political issues at the end of the film
 

Climate change brings risks to greenland

task

  1. Read the article.
  2. Highlight issues using different colours: social, environmental, economic and political.
  3. Write a summary paragraph in your notes.
 
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MELTING GLACIERS IN ASIA

 
 

impact of climate change on the alpine ski industry

 

In the 1980s there were 10 summer ski destinations in Switzerland. In 2015 there are 2.

 
 
 

exam question

With reference to one or more extreme environments, discuss whether human activities can be sustainable. (10 marks)

 
 

Mark Scheme

Extreme environments are characterized by very low population densities. They are generally relatively inaccessible and tend to be viewed as inhospitable to human habitation. Despite this, they provide numerous opportunities for settlement and economic activity.

Agriculture can be sustainable, as long as the carrying capacity of the land is not exceeded. In some areas, this means migrating with herds rather than practising sedentary farming. Tourism offers some possibility for sustainable economic activity, especially in hot areas. However, water shortages may be an issue. Mineral development is unsustainable but can be used as a catalyst for economic development.

Answers should show a good understanding of sustainability.

Answers accessing markbands E/F should include located examples and a range of human activities.