001 - Desertification

Geographic Knowledge and Understanding

The causes, acceleration, consequences and management of desertification, including land use, conflict and climate change.


The future possibility is that the number of people that will be impacted by desertification will increase. Due to the diverse causes and consequences of desertification management is difficult but there are possible approaches that may be successful. Those places that can manage desertification successfully have the potential to be global powers.


  • To understand how desertification occurs and the impact that it can have on areas.
  • To have knowledge of the impact that desertification is having in the world.
  • To develop a case study of a specific place which outlines the causes and resultant management of desertification.

Case Study

One case study illustrating the human and physical dimensions of desertification.

Key Terminology

  • Desertification
  • Anthropocene

You should know the first term by now but if you don't look back at the notes in your folder or click on the useful link below:

Useful Link

Activity One - Watch

It is easy to discuss the issues of desertification when in reality it does not have a huge impact on our daily lives. For us we had a fun although hot day out in the Sahara when we visited Morocco. We did not have to consider how the changes in the landscape are dramatically changing the fabric of desert communities. For some people in the world the warming temperatures and lack of rainfall are having a huge impact on their health and forcing others to migrate. Watch the youtube clip below and write notes on how climate change is impacting the herders.

Activity Two - Debate

Now you have developed some empathy for the people that live in and around areas at risk of desertification we are going to consider how it is caused. On the A4 white boards write down all the causes of desertification that you can explain. On the other side of the white board write down all the consequences.

Activity Three - Mindmeister

Some of you are going to love this and some of you are going to hate this but we will be using mindmeister to record all of the information today. I like mindmeister as I think it helps to organise your ideas and thoughts - it could be useful for that Extended Essay which you will be starting soon! Below is a mindmeister map developed by Mr. Allaway to address all the sections of this syllabus point. Remember this section does ask for a case study so you must have enough information to write a whole essay on this.

Step One

  • Open mindmeister. If you are new to the school you will need to go to www.mindmesiter.com and sign in using your school account and password.

Step Two

  • Click on this link - Extreme Environments - Desertification
  • Don't click on anything within the white box that comes up - click on the download and save it somewhere sensible on your computer.
  • Within mindmeister click on the import button and drop the file you have just saved into it. This should open up the mindmeister template that you will use.

Step Three

  • Fill in all the sections on the mindmeister page and use the links and youtube clips to get information from.

Exam Style Question

Using examples, examine the causes and management of desertification. [10 marks]

This lesson was development in collaboration with Richard Allaway from geographyalltheway. For more resources please visit www.geographyalltheway.com