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Internet Geography

Geography Case Studies

All of our geography case studies in one place

Coastal Erosion

Use the images below to find out more about each case study.

The Holderness Coast

Case Study

The Dorset Coast


Coastal Management

Sandscaping at Bacton, Norfolk

Coastal Realignment Donna Nook

Coastal Realignment Medmerry

Coastal Deposition

Spurn Point

Blakeney Point Spit


Amatrice Earthquake Case Study

Chile Earthquake 2010

Christchurch Earthquake

Haiti Earthquake

Japan Earthquake 2011

L’Aquila Earthquake

Lombok Indonesia Earthquake 2018

Nepal Earthquake 2015

Sulawesi, Indonesia Earthquake and Tsunami 2018

Malaysia Causes of Deforestation

Malaysia Impacts of Deforestation

Alaska Case Study

Epping Forest Case Study

Sahara Desert Case Study

Svalbard Case Study

Thar Desert Case Study

Western Desert Case Study

Energy Resources

Chambamontera Micro-hydro Scheme

Extreme Weather in the UK

Beast from the East Case Study

Storm Ciera Case Study

Food Resources

Almería, Spain: a large-scale agricultural development

The Indus Basin Irrigation System: a large-scale agricultural development

Sustainable food supplies in a LIC – Bangladesh

Sustainable food supplies in a LIC – Makueni, Kenya

Landforms on the River Tees

Landforms on the River Severn

Indus River Basin (CIE)

River Flooding

Jubilee River Flood Management Scheme

Banbury Flood Management Scheme

Boscastle Floods

Kerala Flood 2018

Wainfleet Floods 2019

The Somerset Levels Flood Case Study

UK Floods Case Study November 2019

River Management

The Three Gorges Dam

The Changing Economic World

How can the growth of tourism reduce the development gap? Jamaica Case Study

How can the growth of tourism reduce the development gap? Tunisia Case Study

India Case Study of Development

Nigeria – A NEE

Torr Quarry

Tropical Storms

Beast from the East

Hurricane Andrew

Cyclone Eline

Cyclone Idai Case Study

Typhoon Haiyan 2013

Hurricane Irma 2017

Typhoon Jebi 2018

Hurricane Florence 2018

Typhoon Mangkhut 2018

Urban Issues

Birmingham – Edexcel B

Urban Growth in Brazil – Rio de Janeiro

Urban Growth in India – Mumbai

Urban Growth in Nigeria – Lagos

London – A Case Study of a UK City

Inner City Redevelopment – London Docklands

Sustainable Urban Living – Freiburg

Sustainable Urban Living – East Village

Sustainable Urban Transport Bristol Case Study

Bristol – A major UK city

Volcanic Eruptions

Eyjafjallajokull – 2010

Mount Merapi – 2010

Mount Pinatubo – 1991

Sakurajima Case Study

Nyiragongo Case Study

Water Resources

Hitosa, Ethiopia – A local water supply scheme in an LIC

The South-North Water Transfer Project, China

Wakal River Basin Project

Lesotho Large-Scale Water Transfer Scheme

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The Geography Study School

Geographically on par for your a star.

  • Agriculture
  • Case Studies
  • Energy, water and the environment
  • Industrial systems
  • Map Skills-Paper 2
  • Paper 4: Alternative to coursework
  • Plate tectonics
  • River processes
  • Weather, Climate & Ecosystems
  • Recommended Resources
  • Option G: Urban Environments
  • Populations in Transition
  • Changing space-the shrinking world
  • Contact and Copyright

Overpopulation in Bangladesh

Lack of resources, poor infrastructure and under-developed technology coupled with the high population have been responsible for decreasing the carrying capacity of the region.

Problems of overpopulation:

Overcrowded streets in Dhaka

Overpopulation in Bangladesh resulted in overcrowded areas with traffic congestion as there are too many vehicles on the the roads, especially in cities such as Dhaka. Vehicle emissions, industrial discharge and burning of fossil fuels have resulted in air pollution , while the ground water has been polluted due to arsenic. Furthermore, shortage of food lead to overcultivation on the flood plains of the Ganges river , causing lower yields and soil exhaustion. Another major problem is the widespread deforestation for firewood on the slopes of the Himalayas.

The capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka, also suffers from severe housing shortages due to mass urbanisation.

Canada: Underpopulation

Canada is regarded as an underpopulated country as the carrying capacity is much higher than the current population. The 35 million people in Canada can not fully exploit the available resources and technology.

Problems of underpopulation in Canada:

  • Labour shortage: 32% of Canadian employers are encountering difficulties in hiring workers due to a lack of applicants
  • Services (eg. schools, hospitals and transport) close down as there are not enough customers.
  • Less innovation and development (lee brain power)

Isolated grain mill in Alberta: Canada

Canada has tried to promote immigration to maintain the fairly high standard of living, but in the previous decades less people are migrating to Canada, than during the 1950’s and 1960’s.

  • relaxing immigrant policies and visa requirements to encourage migration
  • Pro-natal goverment support to increase the birth rate eg. subsidies and parental leave programmes
  • allow pensioners to continue working

China: One Family One Child Policy

Anti-natal population policy

China is world’s most populous country with more than 1.3 billion people in 2014. Representing 20% of the world’s people, China suffers from extreme overpopulation.

China became overpopulated since 1960 because of:

  • social/cultural desire to have a son
  • economical bonus: men could work in the field
  • children considered to be social security
  • politics: stronger China against America
  • previously poor medical infrastructure- high infant mortality rate
  • flood 1959-1962: 20 million died

In 1965 the birth rate had grown to 40 births per 1000 until politicians realised the growing problem and launched the One Family One Child Policy in 1979.

Positive consequences of the policy:

  • better education and skilled workforce
  • average fertility reduced to 1.7
  • low urban poverty

Negative consequences of the policy:

  • female foeticide
  • forced abortion
  • abnormal sex ratio/ imbalanced
  • more divorce: desire to have a boy
  • lack of working population to support old dependents
  • girls abandoned, killed, in orphanage

Exceptions to the policy:

  • Han-Chinese allowed a second child
  • rural areas
  • ethnic minorities

Germany: Pro-natal population policy

In Germany, the fertility rate is well below replacement level, having dropped to 1.38 births per woman in 2012. Birth rates have been falling for many years, and the youth plus the immigrants will be unable to support  Germany’s ageing population.

For this reason, Germany has adopted several measures that attempt to encourage families to have more children:

  • paid maternity leave and parental leave
  • tax breaks to tax payers that have children
  • eliminating fees for kindergarden
  • free schooling

Pro-natal Population Policy Germany

  Japan: Population distribution in a densely populated country

With a population of around 130 million (2015), and a population density of 336 people per km² (2015),  Japan is one of the most densely populated countries in the world.

Uneven population distribution

Sparsely populated rural areas: very few people live on the mountainous slopes in the centre of Honshu island and the south of Shikoku island, because of:

  • Lack of flat land for cultivation
  • Thin, infertile and acidic soils
  • Extreme climate: long cold winters with heavy snow
  • Remoteness and isolation: transport and communication are difficult
  • Few jobs available (only in forestry/ primary sector)

Densely populated rural areas : many people live on the flat valleys and gentle slopes of Honshu and Kyushu islands because they:

  • provide fertile land for cultivation and thus, have attracted many farmers
  • attract commuters who work in the cities through the high standard of living and services such as out-of-town shopping malls and sports facilities.

Densely populated urban areas: many people live in towns and cities along the coast, especially on Honshu island, in the conurbation of Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka; because of:

  • flat land with mild winters
  • good service provision like universities and technologically advanced hospitals and health facilities
  • good transport facilities such as the Port of Tokyo to facilitate the import of raw materials and the export of manufactured goods

Canada: A Sparsely populated country

With a population of around 35 million (2015), and a population density of 3.87 people per km² in 2013, Canada is considered a sparsely populated country.

Canada is sparsely populated due to the following reasons:

  • many mountainous areas eg. Canadian Rockies close to the west coast
  • permafrost in the Northern areas (high latidtudes) so land is too cold for agriculture
  • snow and ice make transport difficult, especially in less developed areas (ie. the inner provinces of Canada)

Canada: Population distribution

The population of Canada is clustered in the Southern areas; because, the cold Arctic climate makes cultivation impossible and it is rather unpleasant to live in those cold areas. Also, more people live in Eastern areas, since the West has mountainous areas such as the Canadian Rockies that are too steep to farm on easily and challenging for construction and transport.

Russia: Population decline

Russia has a population growth rate of -0.3%. This has been caused by factors like:

  • high death rate of 13 deaths per 1000, particularly due to alcohol-related deaths
  • low fertility rate of 1.6 children per woman
  • high rates of abortion
  • low levels of immigration
  • underuse of health facilities, resulting in rising costs
  • education cannot be sustained in all areas (particularly sparsely populated)
  • resources not fully exploited, leading to lower GDP
  • lack of workers may result in economic recession
  • pro-natal population policies, eg. financial support for parents who choose to have a second child
  • robotisation/development of tertiary sector to prevent lack of workers

Uganda: High population growth rate

Uganda has a population growth rate of more than 3% due to its high birth rate of 44 births per 1000 people per year. This has been caused by factors such as:

  • low socio-economic status of women
  • low educational levels, especially among females
  • early marriage
  • low use of contraception due to limited access and poverty
  • political statements encouraging more babies as some areas in Uganda have a low population density

Problems of high population growth:

  • Health sector faces human and infrastructural shortages
  • Primary education could not be sustained in all areas
  • Insufficient employment opportunities, especially for poorly educated
  • Threatens agricultural modernisation as population pressure increases deforestation, soil erosion and land degration
  • Pressure on resources, especially in urban areas

Solutions to reduce population growth:

  • Widespread availability of contraception
  • Universal access to education, jobs and health care and female emancipation
  • Promotion of scientific and technical development (tertiary sector)
  • Promotion of new modes of production (modernisation and commercialisation of agriculture)
  • Growth with equity/sustainable development

For more information visit: Population growth rate in Uganda

Uganda: Youthful population

In 2014, 48.7% of Uganda’s population were young dependents under the age of 15.

  • high fertility rate (many children per woman) and high birth rate
  • high infant mortality rate encourages more births so some will survive
  • children considered social and economic asset

Map of Uganda

  • few old dependents that have to be supported
  • possibly a large workforce in future
  • Overpopulation if growth is not regulated, resulting in overcrowding, construction of shanty towns, lower standard of life, increased pollution, depletion of resources and food shortages (which encourage deforestation resulting in soil exhaustion and lower yields), as wells as future unemployment
  • Stress on tax payers to support young dependents and finance development of necessary infrastructure

United Kingdom: Ageing population

The percentage of elderly dependents (+65 years) has increased by 3% from 15% in 1980 to 18% in 2014.

  • Elderly people can share skills and knowledge to train the younger generation
  • Elderly people promote the development of grey economies (such as health care, specialised facilities, other facilities desired by elderly, etc.)

Ageing population person

An increase in the percentage of elderly dependents is a strain on the working population as higher taxation is required to support the pensions of the elderly and to fund services such as health care and specialised homes. Government-funded pensions may have to shrink to cover everybody, leaving many people with less to spend (and some in poverty). In contrast, services for younger people , such as schools, are underused . These services may then have to close (eg. Woodly School in North Yorkshire which shut in 2012 due to a lack of students). As a result, some people may be left unemployed. Also, there are not enough economically active people, causing a lack of workforce and making it harder to defend the country.

HIV/AIDS: Botswana

Botswana is a landlocked country, north of South Africa. UNAIDS estimates that 400,000 people in Botwana live with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus).

HIV/AIDS is transferred through bodily fluids. In Botswana, this occurs mainly during sexual intercourse or from mother to child during pregnancy. AIDS can also spread via contaminated blood transfusions or contaminated needle use (usually in drug users).

As a LEDC country Botswana is particularly vulnerable to HIV because of:

  • poor sex education (people are unaware of the consequences of unprotected sex)
  • low availability of contraception: many people have unprotected sex
  • low status of women: women can not disapprove of unprotected sex, as they are perceived as child bearers
  • low availabilty of medical treatment and testing: many people are unaware that they are infected so the disease spreads easily
  • poverty: few people can afford anti-retroviral drugs to control the severity of the symptoms

Consequences of HIV/AIDS:

  • High death rate and lower life expectancy, especially in economically active population
  • Falling birth rate due to abstinence (fear of becoming infected), so people have less children
  • Decreased labour pool reduces agricultural and industrial output, causing food shortages and poverty, thus preventing economic growth
  • AIDS education programme: used mass media to reach 500,000 students and teach them about HIV/AIDS
  • Offering free condoms to population
  • Improvements in HIV testing and anti-retroviral drugs in government clinics

For more information visit: https://www.patana.ac.th/Secondary/Geography/IB/Population/AIDs%20Botswanna.htm

Syria to Germany: International Refugee Migration

Approximately 13 million Syrians are escaping the war between the Assad regime and non-state armed forces, 800,000 of which have come to Germany so far.

Many are fleeing from barrel bombings and shootings that have destroyed their houses and killed family members. Also, the refugees are attempting to avoid political persecution, as the goverment has arrested and tortured civilians who they think could be working against them. Others are emigrating to prevent being abused by radically religious groups such as IS, who have trained child soldiers and organised kidnappings and extrajudicial executions .

Many seek asylum in Germany, because the country provides economic stability as the current unemployment rate is low, and many sectors will be looking for suitable workers as Germany’s population continues to age. Besides, Germany is perceived as a country that protects and promotes human rights, offering food, shelter and language courses to refugees .

Rural Settlement (LEDC): Korodegaga village

Korodegaga village – near Addis Ababa in Ethiopia – consists of nine small hamlets with 1400 people in total.


The area was first settled in th 20th century because of:

  • water supply from two rivers
  • flat, fertile soil for cultivation
  • extensive forests for building and firewood

Services provided include: a grain mill, mosques and schools. Villagers walk to the neighbouring towns of Dera and Bofa to access a local market and shops.

Braunschweig: Settlement size and service provision

Braunschweig is a district in Lower Saxony, Germany, with a population of around 250,000 inhabitants. The majority ofinhabitants live in the city of Braunschweig, which has the best provision of services (more than 20 schools, 5 hospitals, and a dense network of public transport, which includes, busses, trains and trams). In contrast, the village of Querum, which is also part of the district of Braunschweig, has a population of around 6000 inhabitants only has one doctor’s surgery, and one primary school, as it does not have the threshold population to support higher-order services.

Rural settlement (MEDC): Hötzum, Lower Saxony, Germany

Hötzum has a population of around 900 people. Its function is mainly residential, with most people working in the nearby cities of Braunschweig and Wolfenbüttel.

Map  by: OpenStreetMap und Mitwirkende Source: OpenStreetMap Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0 Mapicons by: Nicolas Mollet Source: Maps Icons Collection Licence: CC BY SA 3.0

The area was first known to be settled by farmers in the 11th century and by the 18th century, the village had 4 arable farms, a shepherd and 6 horsefarms.

The area was initially settled because of:

  • water supply from the Hötzumerbach and the Feuergraben
  • flat, fertile land for arable and pastoral farming
  • extensive forests which provided many logfelling opportunities

Currently there are very few services available (only a church, a community hall, a sports field and a volunteer fire brigade), but villagers can access the neighbouring village of Sickte for basic services and the cities of Wolfenbüttel and Braunschweig for all other needs.

Urban settlement: New York

Currently, New York is the largest city in the US, with a population of around 8 million people.

Site and situation:

  • at a sheltered, natural harbour formed by Hudson river, which provided safe, deep anchorage and an extensive waterfront for the development of docks
  • Hudson river allowed for transport and communication
  • rocky ridge on Island of Manhatten allowed for easy defence

Free stock photo of city, lights, night, skyline


  • Downtown Manhatten: Wall Street (finance district of New York)
  • Midtown Manhatten: tourist district, including Fifth Avenue (shopping), Broadway (theatre), hotels, Empire State Building, Chrysler and United Nations Buildings

Urban problems:

  • Urban sprawl (middle class moves to the outer areas and lower-income families move into the inner city): due to population growth, relocation of businesses to suburbs for cheaper land and better accessibility
  • Poverty and unemployment : around 1 million citizens receive welfare support due to unemployment and poor education caused by a decline in the clothing and harbour induestries in the 1980’s
  • Urban decay and housing problems
  • Racial conflicts due to a large number of immigrants that become trapped in poverty
  • Air pollution as there are too many cars that release toxic exhaust fumes
  • Traffic congestion as there are too many vehicles on the road and due to bottlenecks linking various New York Islands
  • Water pollution from oil spills

Solution schemes:

  • Reduction in air pollution by fitting catalytic converters to the exhausts of diesel city busses and developing a biodiesel plant in Brooklyn to distribute biodiesel to filling stations in the city.
  • Reducing energy consumption by using more efficient street light and traffic lights, using renewable energy sources (wind, underwater turbines) to power homes and public buildings
  • Waste management plan using barges and trains to export 90% of the city’s waste

Employment structure: Netherlands

Employment in the Netherlands is shifting more and more towards a service-based economy, while the proportion of people working in the primary and secondary sectors is at an all-time low.

While just under 7% of the workforce was employed in agriculture in 1970, this number has dipped to just under 2% in 2020, as machines and new technology have replaced the need for manual labour. Employment in industrial manufacturing and production has also fallen, in this case from over 35% to around 15% of the workforce. This comes as the country outsourced much of its manufacturing to China and East-Asia, and focussed more on highly specialist and complex services. Today, the country is home to several world-leading universities including TU Delft and the University of Amsterdam, and boasts many SaaS start-ups and software companies in urban areas like Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The growth of the tertiary sector may also be explained by favourable tax policies that encourage large service-dominated businesses to relocate to the Netherlands, along with a progressively more skilled workforce, as the number of university graduates has increased substantially between 1950 and 2020.

Squatter settlement in Rio de Janiero

Rio de Janiero is the second largest city in Brazil and has a population of 6 million people, of which nearly 17% – 1 million people- are favela-dwellers, living in the slums (called favelas) due to the extremely uneven distribution of wealth.

Rocinha is a favela in Rio

There are many problems for the shanty town inhabitants:

  • Landslides: As the flat land in Rio de Janiero is inhabited by wealthier communties, most favelas are constructed on the mountainous slopes, where landslides are a common occurence (particularly due to excessive deforestation for firewood)
  • Housing is made from scrap material which is vulnerable to flooding
  • No clean water supply can lead to diseases such as typhoid, cholera or TB
  • Sanitation is undeveloped or non-existent, eg. in Rocinha sewage flows down a large channel in the middle of houses. This allows disease to spread and may attract mosquitoes which are responsible for sicknesses such as malaria
  • No proper electricity supply leads to dangerous tapping of electricity from the city’s power net
  • Illegal activities and high crime rates due to many drug dealers, gangs and murderers

Slum upgrading strategies include :

  • Increasing property rights (providing favela residents with titles to their home)
  • Improving access to electricity and clean drinking water
  • Local trash collection scheme: a bag of trash can be exchanged for a gallon of milk
  • To reduce likelidehood of crime and improve education: toyguns can be exchanged for  comic books

Change in land use and resulting conflict: Stuttgart

In the German city of Stuttgart, the rail network is being redesigned as part of the urban development project Stuttgart 21. The construction of new rail tracks means that some of the surrounding land which was previously used for housing and agriculture is now being used for transportation purposes. This has caused significant conflict between proponents and opponents of the projects. Those in favour of the project argue that it aids urban development, as the new transport network with a high-speed railway track improves economic and social mobility. Meanwhile, those opposing the project argue that it damages the environment by contaminating groundwater, destroys historical monuments and devalues private property in the vicinity of the new railway line. Additionally, they point that the project blocks other transport network extensions in the state of Baden-Württemberg. Because of these different perspectives, Stuttgart 21 is so controversial that it has sparked regular, sometimes even violent, protests in the city.

Volcano: Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland, 2010

Image from: http://volcano.si.edu/volcano.cfmvn=372020.

Eyjafjallajökull is a stratovolcano in Iceland, located approximately 125 km SE of the capital Reykjavik. It is found along the Mid-Atlantic ridge, where new earth crust is created.

Lava eruptions in March 2010 were followed by an explosive eruption on April 14th 2010.The lava flows damaged many homes and roads and services were disrupted due to evacuation measures.

Flooding was caused as glacial ice melted and torrents of water were flowing down the slopes of the land. Also, ash covered large plots of agricultural land, damaging the crops.

The massive ash cloud blocked air traffic in large parts of Europe for several days, leaving tourists and business people stranded at their destinations.

Immediate responses included an emergency evacuation of more than 800 people. Longterm responses are the reconstruction of damages houses and roads and research on the effect of ash on air planes.

Earthquake: Haiti, 2010

On the 12th of January 2010 a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, the epicentre of the quake being merely 15 km SW of the capital city, Port-au-Prince.

File:Haiti Quake Map.png

Stress building up along the conservative margin between the North American Plate and the Carribean plate was released by slippage along the fault running parallel to the plate boundary south of Port-au-Prince. The major earthquake was followed by several aftershocks up to a magnitude of 5.0 on the Richter scale.

The earthquake resulted in approximately 230,000 deaths (massive loss of life), destruction of 180,000 homes and around 5,000 schools. It left 19 million cubic metres of debris in Port-au-Prince and many services were badly disrupted or destroyed. A major secondary effect was widespread chlora due to polluted drinking water.

Haiti suffered so much because of the widespread poverty that left more than 80% of the population in poorly constructed, high density concrete buildings. Lack of stable goverment and medical infrastructure limited search and rescue efforts. Furthermore, the earthquake had a shallow focus, resulting in severe ground shaking, and the epicentre was located close to the densely populated capital.

Short-term responses to the earthquake included search and rescue efforts, as well as the the import of food, water and shelter from the USA and Dominican Republic. Longterm responses included reparation of three-quaters of the damaged buildings. Besides, migration was common as people moved away to stay with their families. Also, people received cash or food in exchange for public reconstruction work and the World Bank pledged $US100m to support the reconstruction and recovery.

Tropical storm: Katrina, 2005

Hurricane Katrina was one of the deadliest hurricanes ever to hit the United States.

How did Katrina form?


  • Levees failed to resist the force of the waves, causing 80% of New Orleans to become flooded
  • More than 1000 people lost their lives
  • Half a million houses were damaged in the Gulf Coast region
  • Services in New Orleans were badly disrupted: no electricity, gas and sewage system for 6 months after the event
  • $ 10.5 billion of immediate financial aid for the victims
  • In the first two weeks after the storm, the Red Cross had brought 74,000 volunteers who provided shelter to 160,000 evacuees
  • International aid from over 50 countries
  • Rebuilding levees destroyed by Katrina

Tsunami in the Indian Ocean, 2004

On December 26th 2004, a tsunami occured in the Indian Ocean.

The tsunami was the direct consequence of a 9.0 magnitude earthquake that was caused by tension along the subduction zone of the Indo-Australian and Eurasian plates. This rupture triggered massive waves that reached an altitude of up to 30m.

The tsunami resulted in 250,000 deaths, with 170,000 fatalities in Indonesia alone. 13 countries were affected by the powerful waves, and an estimated total of 2 million people have been displaced, as their houses have been destroyed.

File:2004 Indian Ocean earthquake - affected countries.png

Created by Cantus

Short term responses included search and rescue efforts in the local communities, while internationally, people sent donations to help those in need.

An early warning system has been developed to predict future tsunamis in the Indian Ocean.

Coastal problems and opportunities: Wadden Sea Islands

The Wadden Sea provides a large diversity of fish species and other seafood animals, making fishery an important industry for the local communities. Besides, tourism is well established in the area, with around 800,000 visitors annually on the Dutch island of Texel alone.

By Aotearoa (Own work)  CC-BY-SA-3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

However, the area is threatened by storm tides, particularly in fall and winter, which may cause floods that damage the unique ecosystem. Furthermore, the continuous eastward shift of the islands has eroded their westmost regions, endangering settlements such as West-Terschelling, which may submerge in future.

Coastal management strategies to protect the islands include dune grass planting and dune fencing. The newly planted grass traps and hold sand thereby reducing coastal erosion and encouraging the formation of new dunes. This makes the islands less vulnerable against erosion from storm surges.

Coral reef: Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier reef is located along the Pacific shores, where water temperatures are above 20°C. The reef grows in shallow areas (not more than 60 m deep) in the Coral sea, off the Australian coast, east of Cairns. It grows in clear water that is free of sediment so sunlight can pass through.

File:Wikitravel QLD Map.jpg

The Great Barrier reef is threatened by global warming, which increases coral bleaching. Besides, declining water quality (due to agricultural run-off from the rivers of North-Eastern Australia and oil from ships in discarded in the Coral Sea) pollutes the ecosystem. Also, overfishing destroys food chains and disbalances the symbiotic relationships. Furthermore, tourists may destroy parts of the reef when they go diving or reef-walking.

Management strategies:

The Australian government has made the Great Barrier reef a protected area by declaring it a marine park. The GBRMPA (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority) is the ogranisation who looks after the reef and protects it from human threats while allowing sustainable development to take place. The Marine Park Authority gives out permits for fishing, diving and more and has boats patrol the area to prevent illegal activity. Tourists are educated about how their trip affects the reef and they are not allowed in certain sensitive areas. Also, fines of up to US$ 1 million can be forced on companies that pollute the fragile ecosystem.

Pollution in the North Sea

The North Sea is polluted by oil spillages from tankers in the Thames estuary washing out their tanks. As a result, oil clogs up the gills of fish, casuing them to die. Spillages also pollute the beaches along the British coast (eg. near Essex), which reduces the number of tourists. Besides pollution occurs through the disposal of untreated sewage from large urban areas such as Rotterdam, possibly possessing a human health risk along the Dutch coast. Also, pollutants from industrial waste in the Rhine river may be washed into the sea.

File:North Sea map-en.png

By Halava CC BY-SA 3.0

A spit: spurn head, holderness coast, uk.

Spurn head  is a sand and shingle ridge that extends from the headland south of Easington. It has been formed along the Holderness coast under the influence of prevailing winds from the North which result in wave refraction. Subsequently, longshore drift transports the coastal sediments, which deposit in the sheltered mouth of the Humber estuary.

Spurn Head, Holderness Coast

Ynyslas Dunes, Wales, UK

The Ynyslas Dunes in Wales have been formed by deposition, which occured as energy of winds blowing from Cardigan Bay was reduced. Westerly onshore winds picked up dry sand from the wide beach at the estuary of the Dovey (Dyfi) river. Obstructions on the beach caused a sheltered area. Maram grass colonised dunes and trapped further sand.

ynyslas dunes

Bangladesh: Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta

The Ganges Delta in Bangladesh is the most populous river delta in the world. Around 30% of its population work in agriculture, as rice cultivation is well developed due to the fertile soils. Also, fishing is very prominent, as the distributaries are colonised by shrimps. However, the Ganges Delta is threatened by floods, especially from heavy rainfall during the monsoon season and icewater runoff from the slopes of the Himalaya.


Image of Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta from NASA

Water supply: colorado river basin.

The Colorado river originates from the Rocky Mountains, passing through 7 states before reaching Mexico. It is estimated that 40 million people rely on water from the 2,300 km long stream for domestic, agricultural and industrial purposes. Many dams and canals have been built to control this extreme demand; therefore, the Colorado river is one of the most controlled rivers in the world.


By Shannon, CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0

In 1922, the Colorado River Compact was introduced to divide the water supply between the states of the Upper and Lower Basin of the river, with each group being allocated 9.25 trillion litres of water each year. In 1944, a treaty was introduced to guarantee 1.85 trillion litres to Mexico.

Despite all these management agreements, problems over the river’s resources have arisen, because:

  • River was commited to deliver 20.35 trillion litres per year, but only brought about 17.25 trillion litres anually
  • Evaporation from lakes has remove 2.5 trillion litres, and even less during periods of drought
  • Demand for water has increased, due to population growth and more irrigation for farmland.

Environmental problems:

  • Alluvium becomes trapped behind dams (eg. Hoover Dam), damaging the delta and wetland ecosystem at the mouth of the Colorado river
  • Salinity has increased in the lower basin, altering the ecosystem
  • Reduction in the population of fish, shrimps and sea mammals

Resource management strategies:

  • Reducing leakage from broken pipes
  • Use of grey water in domestic homes
  • Domestic conservation
  • Improving irrigation (using drip irrigation) or growing crops with a lower demand for water
  • Extraction water from ground water supplies
  • Desalinisation of water from the Pacific ocean

(Information from: Greenfieldgeography )

China: Three Gorges Dam

The Three Gorges Dam is located near Yichang on the Yangtse River in China. It is approximately 180 m high and 2.3 km wide and has taken almost 17 years to construct.

The dam has protected 10 million people from flooding and its 32 generators provide energy for 60 million people (each generagtor produces as much energy as a small nuclear powerplant), enabling China to reduce its dependency on coal. It also allows shipping above the Three Gorges and has 6-folded the water traffic capacity. Also, the dam has created many jobs.


  Model of the Three Gorges Dam

However, the dam meant that 1 million people had to be moved to accomodate the reservoir and power stations. The Three Gorges Dam also interferes with aquatic life, being a major threat to the White Flag Dolphin, which is already at risk from extinction. Furthermore, the large masses of silt transported by the Yangtse deposit behind the dam, which reduces the storage capacity of the reservoir. Besides, the dam lies on a fault line and could be badly affected by an earthquake.

Central European floods 2013

Extreme flooding in Europe began after heavy rainfall in May and early June 2013. Precipitation at the northern rim of the Alps exceeded 300mm over four days. This, along with an already high soil moisture from the wet spring weather, gave rise to severe flood discharges in the Danube and Elbe rivers. Many dykes failed due to the pressure from the water masses, worsening the situation. Flash flooding was recorded in Warsaw as a result of a heavy thunderstorm.

25 fatalities have been recorded due to the 2013 floods. Thousands of people were evacuated in Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria. The total devastation amounted to 12billion €, with crop losses acounting for 1billion € worth of damage.  River traffic was blocked for several weeks and many railway lines were closed due to flood damage and landslides.

File:Povodně v Praze, 30.jpg

By Honza Groh (Jagro) (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0

Short-term responses included search and rescue efforts and emergency evacuations. Members of the Red Cross built shelter camps for displaced residents. Military soldiers established sand bag walls to control the Elbe and Danube rivers and protect buildings in areas such as Dresden and Passau. In some rural regions, levees were destroyed to allow the water to escape onto flood plains and prevent uncontrolled damage downstream.

The governments of Germany, Austria and the Czech Republik are investigating into longterm measures to reduce the aftermath of future floods. Suggestions include reducing construction activities on flood plains and creating spillways to divert part of the flow in case of high discharge. Some dykes will be raised and stabilised to protect particularly vulnerable regions.

2011 East African Drought

The 2011 drought in Ethiopia,Djibouti, Kenya and Somalia was caused by the La Nina phenomenon, an ocean current in the Pacific which increased the intensity of westerly winds in the Indian ocean, pulling moisture away from East Africa and towards Australia and Indonesia.

  • Most crops failed and 60% of cattle perished due to a lack of water
  • Severe food crisis: lots of people suffer from starvation or malnourishment
  • Thousands fled to refugee camps in hope of food aid from other countries, but many people died of starvation or disease en route

India: Thar Desert, Rajastan

The Thar Desert is dry as hot air rises at the equator and cools. The moistureholding capacity decreases; it rains. As the air moves away from the equator by advection, it cools and sinks at the tropics (where the desert is located). The sinking air warms up and its moisture-holding capacity increases, so the area is very dry. With the low humidity, there are few clouds to reflect the sunlight and as there is no evaporative cooling, most of the sunlight warms the ground surface, creating hot temperatures.


Low precipitation and temperatures of up to 53°C result in scattered vegetation that has adapted to the extreme conditions. For instance, the Ber tree has a rapidly developing taproot system to survive in drought conditions. However, exept for a few trees, the desert is home to thorny bushes and shrubs. These have spiky leaves to reduce rates of evapotranspiration. Xerophilious grass has a small surface area to reduce water loss. Some species als remain dormant during long dry spells.

The Thar Desert is threatened by excessive irrigation which leads to salinization. Therefore plants can not take up water from th soil, as the soil has greater concentrations of solute than the roots. Soil quality is also decreasing as manure is used as an alternative fuel for firewood rather than to sustain nutrient-rich, fertile soils. Furthermore, population pressure results in overcultivation and overgrazing, especially around cities like Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, damaging the natural vegetation. The desert environment is also threatened by tourist attractions such as dune bashing. The toyotarisation disturbs animals, kills vegetation and creates dust stroms. Also, tourists may dump waste in the desert, poisoning flora and fauna.

Tropical Rainforest in Borneo

Borneo has experienced the fastest tropical rainforest clearance in the world. While 94 % of the island’s land was covered by forest in 1950, less than half of it remains today (44.5% in 2010).

The rainforest has been cleared for the following reasons:

  • to boost Malaysia’s economy by exporting timber for furniture and paper production
  • population pressure : Indonesia’s transmigration programme caused people to move from overcrowded islands as Java to relatively sparsely populated areas as Kalimantan
  • to build palm oil plantations
  • HEP : forest clearance to provide space for a reservoir in Sarawak (Malaysian Borneo)
  • coal mining in Kalimantan

File:BorneoRainforest DSC 9267.JPG

By T. R. Shankar Raman (Own work) CC BY-SA 4.0

Effects of clearance:

  • atmospheric pollution – burning of forest releases enermous masses of ash and smoke
  • global warming due to the release of Co2 from burning forests and reduction in carbon sink (as burnt trees do not absorb CO2 by photosynthesis)
  • loss of biodiversity : loss of plant species through deforestation
  • destruction of habitat: some species (eg. orang-utans) are unprotected due to lower forest cover
  • loss of soil fertiliy : soil degration due to soil erosion and leaching
  • Afforestation/reforestation and selective logging
  • Promoting rainforests as destinations for ecotourism , enabling the undisturbed environment to create a source of income for local people without it being damaged or destroyed
  • World-wide initiatives including debt-for-nature swaps: debt relief for retaining rainforests

Tourism in Lanzarote

With more than 2 million visitors annually,  tourism represents the major pillar of Lanzarote’s economy


  • Climate: average water temperature of 20°C, and average air temperature of 21°C, very little rainfall and 8.5 hours of sunshine each day
  • Numerous luxury and package hotels on beaches eg. Playa Blanca
  • Jameos del Agua: an underground lagoon in a lava tube
  • Timanfaya National Park
  • El Golfo: an emerald green lake situated at the base of a crater on the west coast of the island
  • Cueva de los Verdes
  • Cactus Garden by Cesar Manrique
  • Since the 1980’s , package holidays have created a source of income to promote the development of basic infrastructures, such as the extension of the airport runway to allow for international flights
  • Employment opportunities in tourist industries eg. hotels, gastronomy, transport, tour guides


  • Import leakage to fulfil tourist demands such as food, because only few types of vegetation can thrive on Lanzarote’s arid, volcanic soils

  Ecotourism in Belize

With 245 000 tourists annually, in 2007, over 25% of all jobs were in tourism, which made up over 18% of Belize’s GDP.

Primary and secondary attractions:

  • Mangrove swamps
  • Mountain pine forests and tropical rainforests
  • Archaeological sites eg. Mayan civilization
  • Wildlife reserves eg. Coxcomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary

How tourist demands are managed:

  • Belize Tourist board, Ministry of Tourism and private sector
  • Community Baboon Sanctuary to preserve forest habitat and howler monkeys: sustainable farming to increase yield and services for tourists


  • Waste dumping and financial leakage due to cruise tourism
  • Overfishing
  • Coral damage and eutrophication of freshwater from fertilizer runoff
  • conserve world heritage site of barrier reef
  • increase knowledge of country’s ecosystems through training programmes
  • reduce concentration of tourists in specific areas
  • support planning and development of a buffer zone
  • stricter regulations on cruise ships to reduce waste dumping
  • persuade cruise tourists to spend more time on land

Maldives: Tourism as a development strategy

The Maldives are located south-west of India in the Indian ocean and consist of more than 1000 islands.

Tourism accounts for 28% of the Maldives’ GDP and more than 60% of its foreign exchange receipts.

Natural attractions:

  • sea-sun-sand combination

Man-made attractions:

  • luxury resorts and suites eg. Taj Exotica Resort and Spa on South Male Atoll
  • Grand Friday Mosque in Male attracts religious tourists
  • Water provided by desalination of sea water
  • Energy produced by generators
  • Waste dumped in landfill sites or sea (this problem is addressed by the compulsory installation of incinerators, bottle crushers and compactors in all resorts)
  • Import leakage due to poor agricultural potential and no economic minerals
  • External shocks: sea-level rise, tsunamis, terrorism, etc.
  • Depletion of natural resources and climate change

How tourism in damaging the natural environment:

On the Maldives, tropical coconut palms are destroyed for building hotels. Consequently, the ecosystem is threatened as food chains are destroyed or disrupted. For example, lizards loose their natural habitat. Animals are also scared away by traffic. Besides, a ferry from Male every 10 minutes pollutes the seas, threatening the corals. The reefs are also destroyed as tourists take samples home and leave litter on the beaches that may kill reef fish. The atmosphere is polluted by the incineration of waste.

  • Encourage linkage between tourism and other sectors as construction, manufacturing and transport (multiplier effect)
  • Encourage foreign investment in the development of new resorts
  • Increase employment
  • Encourage solar and wind power

Global warming management: Maldives

The Maldives are located in the Indian Ocean, only 1,5 m above sea level on average, with 80% percent of the land below 1m.


By Giorgio Montersino on Flickr Licence: CC-BY-SA-2.0

Global warming is a substantial threat to the Maldives, as an increase in temperatures leads to the melting of icebergs, causing sea level rise that may submerge the island group.

The Maldivian Government has built a 3m high sea wall that surrounds the island of Male, to protect it from flooding and preserve its beaches. The sea wall was funded by the Japanese government.

Also, the Maldives plan to be a carbon neutral country by 2019. In other words, they try to avoid adding Co2 to the atmosphere, as carbon dioxide is considered to be responsible for global warming. This should be accomplished by encouraging the development of solar and wind energy.

Fuelwood in Mali:

File:Mali firewood.jpg

Image from: Flickr by M Poudyal on 6. April 2007

For local people: The large-scale deforestation that is required to  supply for sufficient energy is problematic, as this energy source is likely to run out if not enough trees will be planted. Besides, deforestation requires people to travel farther to collect enough fuelwood. Deforestation also exposes the soil (as trees cannot trap it) so soil erosion is likely to occur. Furthermore, the burning of fuelwood releases toxic gases which may be trapped in the houses, causing breathing problems or even carbon monoxide poisoning.

Environmental: The widespread deforestation has reduced the humidity of the already dry region, as less plants release water by evapotranspiration.  Also, less roots are anchored in the soil, so the soil is more likely to be eroded. Furthermore, soil salinization is increased, as the cut-down trees no longer provide shade for the soil and the hot temperatures-caused by the desert climate of the Sahel- draw water out of the soil. As an increased soil concentration is poisonous to a large variety of plant species, the natural vegetation will be less likely to grow, and crop cultivation may be hampered.

Two other case studies on fuelwood:


Geothermal energy in Iceland:

Iceland is located along the Mid-Atlantic ridge, a divergent boundary where heat from the core of the Earth rises to the surface. The energy produced from this heat equates to around 30% of Iceland’s electricity production.

Cold water is pumped down to the igneous rock layers, where it is heated by contact with the hot rocks. The hot water is then piped up and the heat energy is converted to electricity.

File:NesjavellirPowerPlant edit2.jpg

Positive aspects:

  • emission-free
  • sustainable and potentially infinite
  • 3/4 of the population live near geothermal sources (in the south-west of Iceland, near Reykjavik)

Negative aspects:

  • obstruction that consumes land
  • visual pollution
  • regional limitations
  • may release dangerous underground gases

(More information on: http://www.markedbyteachers.com/gcse/geography/iceland-geothermal-energy-case-study.html )

Solar power in India

India is particularly suitable for solar power due its large mass of land and its tropical location. Besides, solar power is considered a successful means to address India’s development problems.

Advantages of solar power:

  • safe and pollution-free
  • great potential in rural areas that are isolated from the national electricity grids eg. Dharnai village
  • can be used effectively for low power uses as central heating

Disadvantages of solar power

  • ineffective in high latitude countries and cloudy areas
  • high initial capital input
  • less effective for high output uses

Future plans:

  • establishing an airport that relies solely on solar power in Cochin
  • developing 50 solar cities
  • creating world’s largest solar power station in Madhya Pradesh

Wind energy in Germany

Around 9% of the energy produced in Germany comes from wind turbines located both on shore and off-shore (in the North Sea and Baltic Sea).


Wind farms have been built in Germany starting from the 1990s, when awareness of Co2 as a contributing factor to global warming increased.

Primarily, the government fostered the production of onshore wind energy, as technical challenges prevented off-shore farms. The onshore farms were recognised as a cheap form of renewable energy, which does not contribute to air pollution, global warming or acid rain. On the other hand, people did not want to live near wind farms, as these were considered a form of visual pollution.

This issue was resolved by the development of off-shore farms, which are also more productive as there is more wind out at sea. However, the required network capacities for transmitting the power generated in the North Sea to the large industrial consumers in southern Germany have not yet been constructed.

Energy Supply in China

China sources most of its energy from non-renewable sources, with coal-powered plants accounting for roughly 65% of the country’s energy supply in 2020, according to data from the International Energy Association . Renewable sources accounted for another 30% of the country’s energy mix. In China, hydropower is the most-widespread source of renewable energy, and the country boasts many dams, including the Three Gorges Dam, which is the largest dam in the world. Wind, nuclear energy and solar power are also becoming more important as the country aims to transition to cleaner and more efficient energy sources, following the president’s call for an energy revolution.

Plantation: Rubber farming in Malaysia

Plantations are large farms producing a single cash crop (monoculture).

  • tropical climate (21-28°C,  around 2000mm rainfall)
  • Chinese and Indian labour imported to increase labour force
  • location: lower mountain slopes forming the backbone of Malay peninsula; near railway lines and main port

File:Rubbertree malaysia.jpg

  • Planting in germination beds
  • Tapping 5-7 years after planting to collect latex
  • Latex is coagulated using acid
  • Raw rubber washed and rolled to remove acid ad moisture
  • Rubber is dried and smoked for stabilisation

Extensive commercial farming: Canadian prairies

  • deep, fertile Chernozem soils
  • large expanse of flat land (nearly 2 million square kilometres) to grow wide variety of cereals such as wheat, oats etc. in the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan
  • able to use large machinery for harvesting
  • below zero temperatures in winter break up soil to allow ease of ploughing
  • good railway link to Great Lakes allowing export of cereal crops

Human inputs:

There is a very heavy reliance on machinery for ploughing, planting, spraying the crop and harvesting. A large proportion of expenditure goes toward machinery, chemicals and other equipment. Most of the work can be handled by just a few workers using machines such as combine harvesters and harrows. One or two extra helpers may be hired during planting or harvest time.

from: http://www.geoforcxc.com/economic-activities/wheat-farming-in-canada/

Intensive farming: Rice cultivation in Ganges Valley

  • Alluvial (silt) soils
  • Large labour force
  • Temperatures: >21°C
  • Monsoon rainfall and dry spells

Reis, Reis Anpflanzen, Usd

  • Bufallo manure for fertilising
  • Weather conditions such as flooding or drought may threaten rice yields
  • Monopoly of land: best farmland is owned by few wealthy people, other land owners struggle to cultivate rice in more difficult conditions, especially as they do not have the technology to increase soil fertility
  • Little use of machinery and modern methods
  • Food shortages: Overpopulation results in overcultivation on flood plains, leading to soil exhaustion and lower yields

Information from: http://geographyfieldwork.com/RiceFarm.htm

Pastoral farming in New Zealand

New Zealand is well known for its agricultural output from sheep farming and dairy farming.

Sheep farming inputs:

  • Sheep were brought to New Zealand in the 1800s by British sailors. Initially, the sheep had few natural enemies, so their numbers increased rapidly.
  • The sheep are also well adapted to the mild climate and the rich pasture, particularly on the mountainous slopes of South Island.

Free stock photo of man, agriculture, farm, farmer

  • Shearing to obtain wool

Sheep farming outputs:

  • Meat: beaf and veel
  • Sheep manure for fertilizing

Dairy farming inputs:

  • Mild climate with high rates of precipitation
  • Alluvial and volcanic soils on the flat planes of New Zealand

Free stock photo of animal, countryside, agriculture, farm

Dairy farming processes:

Dairy farming outputs:

Subsistence farming: Shifting cultivation in Amazon Rainforest, Brazil

Shifting cultivation is an agricultural practice in which areas of land are cultivated temporarily and abandoned as they become infertile. This allows the land to revert to its natural vegetation and is a sustainable farming technique. Shifting cultivation is mainly practised by indigineous tribes.

Subsistence farming in Lesotho

Lesotho is a landlocked country that borders South Africa. It relies heavily on subsistence farming, with an estimated 86% of the country’s population growing their own crops and maintaining livestock.

Subsistence farming is common in the lowlands northwest of Maseru, where the terrain is flat and thus suited for the cultivation of crops. In mountainous areas, many farmers also raise livestock to compensate for the lower yields from cultivation on mountain slopes.

Additionally,  subsistence farmers in vast parts of Lesotho raise livestock, which can be sold during drought years when crop yields are low. This provides food security for the farmer’s family.

Food shortages in South Sudan

In South Sudan, nearly 4 million people are severely affected by food shortages.

  • Drought: Long-term decline in rainfall in southern Sudan (by 20% since 1970s)
  • High population growth (4% in 2013) increases demand for food, so unsustainable farming practices such as overgrazing and overcultivation are used, resulting in land degradation and soil erosion
  • Reliance on food imports from neighbouring countries: Uganda, Kenya and Sudan
  • Civil war between government and rebel forces disrupts planting and harvesting and insecurity along transport routes has hampered the delivery of food and other humanitarian supplies

Water supply in Puglia, Italy

Puglia is one of the most water-scarce regions in Italy, and has very few fresh streams or natural rivers. Its aquifers are vulnerable to contamination by seawater, and so the area’s inhabitants b uilt a large aqueduct to tap into the fresh drinking water from an underground spring in the Campania region , located more than 160 km away. 

Today, cities in the Puglia region (such as Bari) still receive some of their water for domestic use from this original aqueduct. However, precipitation in the Campania region has become less frequent in recent years, and so less water is draining into the aquifer that feeds the acqueduct.

Therefore, Puglia also gets around 250 million cubic meters of water every year from the neighboring region of Basilicata . The local authorities have even considered piping water in across the Adriatic Sea from Albania, to help the region cope with supply shortages.

Soil erosion in Nepal

25% of Nepalese forest was removed between 1990 and 2005 and this trend continues at a rate of 3% per year.

Causes of land degradation in Nepal:

  • Deforestation for fuelwood exposes soil to heavy monsoon rainfalls as there will be less vegetation to protect it, causing it to be washed away by extreme surface runoff. Besides, soil is not held together by tree roots, so it can be eroded by icewater runoff from melting glaciers.
  • Soil dries out in areas of low rainfall and strong winds can then remove the loose particles
  • Agricultural mismanagemnet: poor farming practises such as overcultivation and overgrazing (which deplete the soil’s nutrients) damage the ground vegetation and result in the compaction of topsoil
  • Soil pollution through excessive use of persticides poisons bacteria and fungi and thereby disrupts symbiotic relationships

File:Wind erosion Kalopani Nepal.jpg

  • Crop rotation prevents depletion of nutrients and replenishes soil fertility
  • Contour ploughing rather than ploughing up and down the slopes to prevent rapid run-off, gully formation and loss of soil
  • Fuelwood conservation: replacing trees where deforestation has taken place or is going to occur
  • Environmental education: restrict tourist visits and demand larger fee for use of heating and cooking facilities; environmental education in schools

Transport risks and benefits: Expansion of Heathrow

Discussions about an expansion of Heathrow Airport, Europe`s busiest airport by passenger traffic, arose in 2006, and still, no final decision has been made, as supporters and opposition have been arguing about the benefits and disadvantages for 10 years.

File:Heathrow T5.jpg

Benefits of an expansion:

  • Enhancing economic growth in the UK: Heathrow functions as a major transport hub for both business travellers and tourists, transporting around 70 million passengers annually
  • Benefits for financial services industry in London and other independent firms eg. inflight catering, security services
  • Better connectivity to other international cities, as more destinations can be scheduled
  • Waiting times would be reduced as the airport operates at a lower capacity
  • Construction provides up to 100,000 jobs

Disadvantages of an expansion:

  • Increase in emission of greenhouse gases from additional flights
  • Community destruction: removal of 4000 houses to make space for a runway
  • Increased noise and air pollution in West London due to an increase in flights: roaring airplane engines and their exhaust fumes
  • Impact on wildlife

High technology industry: Cambridge Science Park

Cambridge Science Park is a Europe’s largest centre for commercial research and development. It is located near Cambridge in the United Kindom, as Cambridge University provides a large supply of expert labour and allows for the sharing of technology. Besides, a large plot of land (152 acres/61.5 hectares) had been available for a low cost, as the facility is located outside of the urban area around London. Nevertheless, good transport facilities exist, including the M11 motorway link to London for the export of finished products and London Stansted International Airport which allows for worldwide trade.

Manufacturing industry: Pakistan’s Iron and Steel Industry

  • flat, cheap land available at Pipri, near Gharo Creek
  • near Port Qasim, which has a natural harbour to import raw materials and export steel
  • close to market: steel-using industries in Karachi, such as tool making
  • energy source from Pipri thermal power station and Karachi nuclear power station
  • availability of cheap labour from Karachi
  • along a railway: Karachi-Pipri-Kotri and metalled roads
  • economic assistance from USSR: technical expertise and capital
  • water required for making steel brought from Lake Haleji
  • heating of ore to separate iron
  • burning coke
  • rolling into sheets and cutting into lenghts
  • cast iron and pig iron
  • gases: sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, hydrogen sulfide
  • noise pollution from machinery disturbs wildlife
  • visual pollution due to large, ugly factory buildings
  • air pollution from burning iron ore, which releases carbon dioxide
  • water pollution from contaminated cooling water, scrubber effluent and ships supplying raw materials
  • depletion of freshwater supplies due to excessive requirement of water in production
  • risk of fire and explosions

MNC: MC Donald’s

MC Donald’s is a company at the forefront of globalisation, with more than 35,000 outlets in 121 countries world wide. Founded in the United States in 1940, the company began as a barbecue restaurant operated by Richard and Maurice McDonald. Mc Donald’s employes nearly 2 million people to sell fast food.

  • Each new store that is build creates jobs (eg. opening of Mc Donalds at Kennedybrücke in Vienna created 30 new jobs)
  • Mc Donalds is involved in youth sports, local charities, and other inspiring events by donating via its charities.
  • Salaries vary per country, and are generally low
  • Sometimes considered to have poor working conditions

Facebook: A Transnational Corporation and its global links

Facebook is the biggest social network and social media platform in the world, connecting more than 2.8 billion people in the world.

Facebook has close links to businesses all of over the world, as it not only owns the messenger service Whatsapp and the social media platform Instagram, but also offers advertising space through its Facebook Ads service, and allows retailers and people to sell and trade goods in its market place.

In the past, Facebook has also come under fire for data partnerships with other TNCs including, but limited to, Amazon, Microsoft, Yahoo and Spotify. However, amidst privacy concerns, the company has had to reduce the strength of its global links, and is instead shifting towards a slightly more localised global approach.

Nonetheless, Facebook continues to maintain and develop strong global links through mergers and acquisitions, its headquarter location in Silicon Valley near other high-tech, and software firms, and its relationships with goverments and business networks all around the world.

Nike: A multinational company and its impact on less developed countries

Nike is a global sportswear company headquartered in Oregon in the United States. The company employs around 75.000 people around the world, with an additional 500.000 people working for companies to which Nike subcontracts most of its manufacturing in Eastern Asia.

Benefits for LEDCs:

  • Nike factories create new jobs in countries like China, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia, allowing poorer people to earn a wage. The standard of living for many people improves, increasing the ability to access food and quality housing.
  • Nike has invested in and promoted the development of transport infrastructure in the areas near the factories. Better roads make it easier for the population to get around, and this has a positive ripple effect on other economic activity.
  • Poor health and safety standards are a major threat to people employed in the factories.
  • Short-term contracts and payment below the national living wage also have a devastating impact on the local community. For example, in one Cambodian factory that produced apparel for Nike, several women collapsed after working 10 hour days, six days a week , and they reported feeling hungry and exhausted.
  • Natural resources such as oil are being overexploited, as they are required for manufacturing. This has a negative impact on the local environment.
  • Factories are often footloose. This means Nike could relocate to another less developed area if the local conditions or government policies are deemed unfavourable – with a devastating impact on employment and the local economy.

You can find out more about Nike and its impact on LEDCs here .

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137 thoughts on “ Case Studies ”

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November 15, 2023 at 5:32 am

Thank you,it is really helpful. May I have a pdf copy of this?

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November 26, 2023 at 9:51 am

Sure, sent you an e-mail

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September 28, 2023 at 1:19 am

Hi. Do you have any predictions for 7 mark questions (case study) for October/November IGCSE paper 1?

September 28, 2023 at 10:06 am

Hi Y, You could get case studies on a rapidly growing urban area in a developing country, over- or underpopulation, tropical areas or hot deserts, the risks and management of coastlines, a TNC and its global links and agricultural systems. As always, please take these predictions with a grain of salt, as I have no way of knowing what will be on the exams Best of luch for your revision 🙂 Carina

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August 22, 2023 at 5:03 pm

Do yo have an case studies on coasts and the causes of overpopulation and eruption in eyjajjallojokull

September 28, 2023 at 9:50 am

Hi Tanatswa, Yes, you can find the case studies on this page: https://igcsegeography.wordpress.com/revision-materials/case-studies/

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August 17, 2023 at 12:01 pm

This is great and i recommend it to my students. So helpful.

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June 16, 2023 at 2:22 pm

hi is there a igcse workbook with answers

June 21, 2023 at 5:33 pm

Hi Renee, Some providers such as Hodder Education seem to have IGCSE workbooks and then offer a subscription service to teachers that include answers for those workbooks. But generally the answers are very hard to get as a student – this is one of the reasons why I recommend practising with past papers, as mark schemes are usually published online if you search hard enough 🙂 Best, Carina

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June 4, 2023 at 7:16 pm

These are wonderful study notes

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May 9, 2023 at 6:38 pm

So useful so detailed

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April 24, 2023 at 8:09 am

Hi, Do you have any case studies on urban sprawl? if so please send it.

May 1, 2023 at 10:43 am

Hi J, You can find some information on urban sprawl in Nottingham on this page: https://igcsegeography.wordpress.com/2016/06/06/case-study-answer-series-summer-2008/ Hope this helps. Best, Carina

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June 21, 2023 at 4:37 am

Please send me a pdf of these case studies . They are really helpful

June 21, 2023 at 5:23 pm

Hi Gladys, Just sent you an email Best of luck Carina

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April 16, 2023 at 12:15 pm

Hi, Any predictions for the IGCSE CIE Paper 1, 2 and 4? Especially for Paper 1; there is so much heavy content!!I have my first exam, paper 1 in about two weeks- Thank you!:)

April 16, 2023 at 12:26 pm

Hey Martina, Did you see my reply from February yet? I would guess that in Paper 1, you’ll see a case study on either energy or development, questions around rivers and earthquakes or volcanoes, and perhaps birth and death rates, and international migration, as well as settlement types or land use. Best, Carina

April 16, 2023 at 12:46 pm

Did not! Just checked! Thank you anyhow for answering again:)! What kind of questions could they ask us in terms of rivers earthquakes or volcanoes?

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March 30, 2023 at 11:51 am

Hello. Will this apply for the 2023 October/November IGCSEs?

April 16, 2023 at 11:59 am

Hello Tshepi, These case studies might apply in October 2023, but you’re always best off checking the official syllabus: https://www.cambridgeinternational.org/Images/596947-2023-syllabus.pdf Best, Carina

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March 7, 2023 at 2:48 pm

hi, do you have any predictions for march 2024 paper1?

April 16, 2023 at 11:57 am

Hey Anvi, It’s a bit early for predictions for March 2024, as the Summer 2023 papers still haven’t been completed. But feel free to ask me again in late Autumn. Best, Carina

February 21, 2023 at 9:18 am

Thank you so much for this! It was so so so helpful:) Any predictions for the May/June Exams this year? All of the extended papers(no course work)

February 26, 2023 at 10:19 am

Hi Martina, I don’t know what questions will come up in the May /June 2023 exams, so please take these predictions with a grain of salt. My best guess is that you might see some questions around birth and death rates, international migration, settlement types and/or land use. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was something on earthquakes and volcanos, and perhaps rivers and or a case study on coral reefs. You could also have questions around water supply, perhaps with a case study on energy, and tourism or development is likely to come up as well.

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January 9, 2023 at 7:45 am

Hi! Do you have any predictions for the May/June 2023 Paper 1? Like, which case studies do you think are likely to come up?

February 26, 2023 at 10:21 am

Hey Livia, sorry for the delay in replying I’ve just made a few predictions – you can find them if you look for my reply to Martina on this page. Best, Carina

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July 3, 2022 at 10:04 am

Thanks so much i found this very helpful.

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May 30, 2022 at 6:27 pm

Thank you so much, this information has been really helpful to me in my Geography

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May 3, 2022 at 10:36 pm

what are your predictions on the may june 2022 paper 1?

May 11, 2022 at 7:45 pm

Hi eisha, You can find my prediction in the comments section of this page: https://igcsegeography.wordpress.com/revision-materials/industrial-systems/ Best, Carina

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May 1, 2022 at 5:33 pm

Also, is it really okay if I got stuck in the test and had to invent a place specific reference. I’ve always wondered how they correct the papers given all those student responses on different countries, tho

May 11, 2022 at 7:37 pm

Hi Jana, you’ll probably be fine inventing something if you really do get stuck, as long as it is remotely reasonable. Just keep in mind that examiners can Google stuff, or may even be from your country, so whatever you do invent probably shouldn’t be contradicted by a quick online search 🙂

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May 1, 2022 at 5:21 pm

Hi Carina! Love your website! Do you have any tips or recommendations on the May Jun 2022 series for geography?

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May 1, 2022 at 11:03 am

Hi, this might be a dumb question but would you recommend memorising all these case studies, or should we only need to know a certain amount, and in certain areas for the exams?

May 11, 2022 at 7:41 pm

Hi Luke, I would recommend learning the core concepts very well and at least memorising a case study for all frequently occuring topics (e.g. 1 volcano, one earthquake, one river with certain features, one coastal area, one country with population change, urban vs. rural settlement, etc.). I would try to memorise especially those case studies that you can’t find an example for in your local area,, as you probably know your city and surrounding area well enough to come up with something reasonable on at least some of the questions in the exam. Best, Carina

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April 30, 2022 at 12:11 pm

thanks so much for this, exams are in less than a week and this i just what i needed :)))

May 11, 2022 at 7:43 pm

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April 25, 2022 at 5:52 am

Paper 1 is almost a week away and I had very little knowledge on any case studies prior to just a few days ago. This compilation of case studies has been a great help to me, so I’d just like to say thanks!

May 11, 2022 at 7:46 pm

Thanks Ezad, I am glad you found the case studies helpful!

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March 28, 2022 at 11:22 am

Dear Carina who compiles this – this is a mother trying to help her 13 years old to review – this is AMAZING resource!!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU!

May 11, 2022 at 7:49 pm

Thanks Grace, it means a lot to me! Best, Carina

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January 23, 2022 at 6:21 pm

Hello, Are the case studies grouped, for example, are all the ones about tourism together? Thank you very much

March 20, 2022 at 9:49 am

Hi salman, the case studies are loosely grouped, so you will find all the case studies related to a particular topic after each other. Best, Carina

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November 3, 2021 at 2:18 pm

This is a great resource. well done!

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GCSE Geography Case Studies

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  1. What Is a Case Study?

    When you’re performing research as part of your job or for a school assignment, you’ll probably come across case studies that help you to learn more about the topic at hand. But what is a case study and why are they helpful? Read on to lear...

  2. Why Are Case Studies Important?

    Case studies are important because they help make something being discussed more realistic for both teachers and learners. Case studies help students to see that what they have learned is not purely theoretical but instead can serve to crea...

  3. What Are Some Examples of Case Studies?

    Examples of a case study could be anything from researching why a single subject has nightmares when they sleep in their new apartment, to why a group of people feel uncomfortable in heavily populated areas. A case study is an in-depth anal...

  4. Geography Case Studies

    Geography Case Studies. All of our geography case studies in one

  5. GCSE

    This is a short recap of all the case studies you need to answer your paper 1 exam.

  6. Case-Study-Booklet-GCSE.pdf

    AQA GCSE. Geography. Complete Case. Study and. Example Booklet. Page 2. Complete list of case studies and named examples for the course: Effects of and

  7. GCSE Geography Case Study Notes

    This booklet contains revision notes for All the Case studies you need to know. They are arranged into each topic. If you have any worries, question or need.


    Make a list of all the topics you need to revise. Each subject that you are studying can be broken down into its constituent parts, with main

  9. GCSE

    This is a brief recap of all the case studies you need to sit your AQA paper 2 exam.

  10. Case Studies

    The CIE IGCSE/GCSE Geography Exams require the study of specific demographical

  11. Paper 1 Case Studies

    Cockermouth. Cause: Rain (31.4cm), over a 24-hour period. The rivers Derwent and. Cocker. Over 1300 homes were flooded. Cost on average. £28,000 per house.

  12. AQA GCSE Geography

    Education- In Rio only half of all children continue their education beyond

  13. GCSE Geography Case Studies

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