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.


Case Study

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

Key Terminology

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.

Useful Resource

The Desert: Journey Through the Sahara

CGTN Africa

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 (or on paper) 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 - Case Study

So now that you know what desertification is and how it is caused we need to create a case study on the causes, impacts and mitigation of desertification for a specific area. As it is a case study you could be asked to write a whole essay on this one specific syllabus point. Do remember though that you can also link this to the core units of climate change and resources. The food, water, energy nexus is crucial for security of regions and countries and the lack of water endangers this security. We are going to be exploring Morocco. Some of you have visited Zagora first hand and seen the encroachment of the desert onto the farmland. You have seen the challenges that this fragile environment is now facing. For our case study you will be watching the YouTube clip in the 'Useful Resources' box below. Make notes on the following points:

Useful Resources

Morocco Endangered Oases

DW - Climate Change in the Desert

Activity Four - Mitigation

Now you know about the key issues that are caused by desertification in an already fragile region, we need to discover what we can do about it. The Great Green Wall is a mitigation technique that has been devised to increase the amount of arable land in the Sahel region of Africa. The Sahel can be found bordering the Sahara Desert and 11 nations are investing in this sustainable development and agroforestry project. For this activity you are going to listen to the BBC podcast on The Great Green Wall and you are going to make notes on the following points:

Useful Resources

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