Yahya's nomadic family has been forced off their land on the fringes of the Sahara, because of desertification. Through his story, this title considers the impacts of desertification and its causes, including: climate change, population pressure, over abstraction of water, overgrazing and salinisation. It then considers a range of responses including tree planting, the use of appropriate technology and the introduction of sustainable water and soil management strategies.


Suggested exam board specification links


Section Hot deserts

Areas on the fringe of hot deserts are at risk of desertification.

• Causes of desertification – climate change, population growth, removal of fuel wood, overgrazing, over-cultivation and soil erosion.

• Strategies used to reduce the risk of desertification – water and soil management, tree planting and use of appropriate technology.

Eduqas B (schools in England)

Key Idea 3.4: Desertification

3.4.2 To what extent does human activity contribute to the problem of desertification?

• Human activities to include unsustainable use of water resources, over-grazing, poor land management and use of fire wood.

• The different viewpoints, values and attitudes of stakeholders in the region.

3.4.3 How can environments vulnerable to desertification be managed?

• A range of strategies employed by Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), working at a local level with communities, to include drip irrigation, magic stones and use of drought-tolerant crops.

iGCSE Edexcel

Topic 7: Fragile environments and climate change

7.1 Fragile environments are under threat from desertification, deforestation and global climate change

b) Causes of desertification (drought, population pressure, fuel supply, overgrazing, migration) and deforestation (commercial timber extraction, agriculture, mining, transport; settlement and HEP (hydroelectric power)

7.2 There are various impacts of desertification, deforestation and climate change on fragile environments a) Social, economic and environmental impacts of desertification (reduced agricultural output, malnutrition, famine, migration).

c) Negative effects that climate change is having on fragile environments and people (ecosystem changes, reduced employment opportunities, changing settlement patterns, health and wellbeing challenges, including food supply).

7.3 The responses to desertification, deforestation and climate change vary depending on a country’s level of development

a) How technology can resolve water-resource shortages in fragile environments under threat from desertification.

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