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  • Age: 14-16 MYP Individuals and Societies
  • Age: 14-16 GCSE / IGCSE Geography
  • Natural Environments
  • Economic Development

IGCSE Geography Revision Question Bank

  • Many migrants from other countries move to cities in Australia, such as Sydney and Melbourne. Describe the effects of international migration on cities such as these.  Link
  • Suggest reasons why a greater number of women in developed countries now have their children later in life.  Link
  • Describe  the likely effects of an ageing population in an MEDC such as Norway.  Link
  • Describe  the different ways by which the dependent population is supported in developed and developing countries.  Link  |  Link
  • Describe  the positive and negative effects which the migration of large numbers of people may have on the area to which they move.  Link
  • Italy, a developed country in Europe, has an ageing population. There are twice as many people aged 60 years and over than children aged below 10 years.  What  problems may this cause for the country?  Link
  • Give reasons  why it is difficult for governments of developing countries to achieve a reduction in the rate of population growth.  Link
  • For a residential area in a named settlement you either know or have studied,  describe  the changes which have been caused by either an inward or an outward movement of people. Include in your answer changes in housing, services and amenities.  Link
  • Explain  why governments of developing countries often find it difficult to lower their birth rates.  Link
  • The size of the population in an area may change as a result of natural increase. For an area which you have studied,  explain  why the rate of natural population growth is high.  Link
  • Overpopulation occurs when there are too many people living in an area for the resources which are available.  What  problems are caused by overpopulation? You should refer to a country or area which you have studied.  Link
  • What  policies can be used by governments to influence rates of natural population growth? You should refer to at least one example which you have studied.  Link
  • Explain  why the governments of some countries may be concerned by a rapid growth of population. You may refer to examples which you have studied.  Link
  • What  strategies are being used to try to reduce the spread of disease in developing countries? You may refer to examples which you have studied.  Link
  • The migration of people can be explained in terms of the pull and push factors which influenced their decision to migrate. Examples of types of migration include: international and internal migration, forced and voluntary migration, permanent and seasonal migration. Choose any example of migration and name the areas between which people moved.  Explain  why many people made the decision to migrate. You should refer both to pull and to push factors.  Link
  • Explain  why traffic congestion is a problem in many large urban areas.  Link
  • The area surrounding towns and cities is known as the rural-urban fringe.  Why  do many town and city authorities control the developments which may take place in the rural-urban fringe?  Link
  • Describe  measures to reduce the problem of traffic congestion in towns and cities. You should refer to examples in your answer.  Link
  • The area surrounding towns and cities is known as the rural-urban fringe.  What  problems are likely to occur in the rural-urban fringe as a result of the growth of towns and cities? You should refer to an example which you have studied.  Link
  • Many settlements have grown over the years into large urban areas. These include towns and cities with main functions such as: - ports, - industrial towns, - tourist resorts, - administrative centres. - capital cities. For a named example of a large settlement which you have studied,  identify  its main function and explain the reasons for its growth.  Link
  • In all large urban areas attempts have been made to solve the problems faced by the people who live there. These include problems such as: traffic congestion, squatter settlements, housing shortages, urban sprawl. Choose either one of these problems or any other problem faced by people who live in urban areas. For a named urban area,  describe  the attempts which have been made to solve the problem which you have chosen.   Link
  • Describe  what has been done to improve the quality of life in squatter settlements in developing countries. You may refer to examples which you have studied to illustrate your answer.  Link
  • In all large urban areas there have been changes in land use in recent years. These include the development of: road networks, residential areas, industrial areas, leisure and shopping facilities. For a named urban area, identify a recent change in land use.  Describe  the advantages and disadvantages of this development for people who live in the urban area which you have named.  Link
  • Why  does the growth of squatter settlements often result in problems for both the squatters and the area around the squatter settlement?  Link
  • Explain  the causes of two of the following problems: - urban sprawl, - high concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, - deforestation, - shortages of drinking water, - soil erosion.  Link
  • Short-term effects of earthquakes on people include loss of life and injuries, as well as damage to buildings and communications. What may be done before an earthquake occurs to reduce these short-term effects?  Link
  • Explain  why MEDCs, such as the USA, normally recover more quickly from natural disasters than LEDCs.  Link  |  Link
  • Explain  why many people continue to live in areas at risk from natural hazards.  Link
  • Explain  how volcanoes are formed at destructive plate boundaries. You may use a labelled diagram in your answer.  Link
  • Long-term effects may occur in the weeks or months after a large earthquake.  Explain  why these long-term effects might be difficult to deal with.  Link  |  Link
  • In many parts of the world the natural environment presents hazards to people. Choose an example of one of the following: a volcanic eruption, an earthquake, a drought. For a named area,  describe  the causes of the example which you have chosen and its impacts on the people living there.  Link  |  Link  |  Link  |  Link
  • In many parts of the world the natural environment presents hazards to people. Choose an example of one of the following: - a volcanic eruption - a tropical storm - a drought. For a named area,  describe  the short-term and long-term effects of the example which you have chosen on people living in the area.  Link  |  Link
  • Explain  why people choose to live close to active volcanoes. You may refer to examples which you have studied.  Link
  • Why  may volcanic areas offer opportunities as well as problems for people living there?  Link
  • Explain  how and why a delta is formed. You may refer to an example which you have studied and include labelled diagrams.  Link
  • Why  do meanders sometimes develop into ox-bow lakes?  Link
  • Explain  how the work of a river and rock structure influence the formation of a waterfall and its retreat upstream.  Link
  • What  measures might be taken to prevent or reduce the effects of either tropical storms or river flooding?  Link
  • Flooding occurs on the flood plains and deltas of some rivers. For a river which you have studied,  explain  what has been done to reduce flooding.  Link
  • The weather often causes problems for people. These include problems caused by: flooding, drought, tropical storms. Choose either one of these hazards or any other hazard faced by people as a result of the weather or climate.  Describe  the problems experienced by people living in areas at risk from your chosen hazard. You may refer to examples which you have studied.  Link
  • Many people live and work on the flood plains of major rivers.  Describe  the advantages and difficulties for people of living on the flood plain of a river. You may refer to examples which you have studied.  Link
  • Describe  the ways in which coastal areas can provide opportunities for the people who live there. You should give examples from an area you have studied.  Link
  • Explain  how the natural features of headlands are formed as a result of wave processes. You may use labelled diagrams in your answer.  Link
  • Explain  why MEDCs, such as the USA, normally recover more quickly from natural disasters than LEDCs.  Link
  • What  measures might be taken to prevent or reduce the effects of either tropical storms or river flooding?  Link
  • In many parts of the world the natural environment presents hazards to people. Choose an example of one of the following: a volcanic eruption, an earthquake, a drought. For a named area,  describe  the causes of the example which you have chosen and its impacts on the people living there.  Link
  • In many parts of the world the natural environment presents hazards to people. Choose an example of one of the following: - a volcanic eruption - a tropical storm - a drought. For a named area,  describe  the short-term and long-term effects of the example which you have chosen on people living in the area.  Link
  • The weather often causes problems for people. These include problems caused by: flooding, drought, tropical storms. Choose either one of these hazards or any other hazard faced by people as a result of the weather or climate.  Describe  the problems experienced by people living in areas at risk from your chosen hazard. You may refer to examples which you have studied.   Link
  • Explain  why desert areas, such as In Salah, are hot and dry. You may use labelled diagrams or sketch maps in your answer.  Link
  • Explain  why parts of some continents, such as South America and Africa, experience a tropical rainforest climate whilst other parts experience a tropical desert climate.  Link
  • Describe  the problems experienced by people living in areas at risk from desertification. You may refer to examples which you have studied.  Link
  • Apart from the development of irrigation, describe how farmers in many parts of the world are attempting to produce more food.  Link
  • There is large scale famine in some developing countries. This may be they result of: physical factors, economic factors, political factors.  Explain  why there are food shortages in some parts of the world. You may refer to examples which you have studied..  Link
  • All farming systems have inputs, processes and outputs. Name an example which you have studied of either small-scale subsistence farming or large- scale commercial farming. Give the name of an area where your chosen farming type takes place.  Describe  the inputs, processes and outputs of this farming system.  Link
  • Areas at risk from economic development need careful management. Choose one of the following economic activities. tourism, agriculture, manufacturing industry. Name an area which you have studied where the environment is at risk from the activity which you have chosen.  Describe  the attempts which have been made to maintain, conserve or improve the quality of the environment of your chosen area.  Link
  • For either high-technology industries or small-scale cash crop farming,  explain  how: - transport, - labour, - markets, - at least one other factor influenced its growth at a named location you have studied.  Link
  • Explain  why high technology industries, such as electronics, are important in NICs such as Taiwan. You may refer to other examples.  Link
  • For a named country or area which you have studied,  explain  why high technology industries were located there.  Link
  • For either high-technology industries or small-scale cash crop farming,  explain  how: - transport, - labour, - markets, at least one other factor influenced its growth at a named location you have studied.  Link
  • Describe  the advantages of the development of tourism to either a named region or country you have studied.  Link
  • For a named area which you have studied,  explain  why the tourist industry is important. You should refer to the areas physical and human attractions.  Link
  • Identify  a form of energy and  describe  how its use threatens the natural environment. You may refer to named areas which you have studied.  Link
  • Why is it necessary to increase the production of energy?  Explain  how you think it might be possible to increase energy production while at the same time protecting the environment.  Link
  • Give your views , with reasons, on the need to conserve natural environments, such as the tropical rainforest of the Amazon Basin.  Link
  • Why  are many people throughout the world worried by the increase in global warming?  Link
  • Water and air may be polluted by human activities. Name an example of a place which you have studied where either the air or the water is polluted.  Describe  the causes of this pollution and its effects on people and the environment.  Link
  • Human activities often pose a threat to the natural environment. These include economic activities such as: - mining and quarrying - agriculture, - transport, - providing energy. Choose one of the activities from the list above and name an area where the environment is at risk from this activity.  Explain  how it has affected the natural environment of your chosen area.  Link
  • Human activities often pose a threat to the natural environment. These include economic activities such as: - tourism, - agriculture, - manufacturing industry, - mining. Name an area which you have studied where the environment is at risk from human activities. Describe the human activities causing the risk and explain how they have affected the natural environment of your chosen area.  Link


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Cambridge International IGCSE Geography Learner guide

Topic outline.

igcse geography case study questions

  • Syllabus content - what you need to know about

You will have three assessments:

  • Two theory papers:
  • Paper 1 (Geographical Themes)

Paper 2 (Geographical Skills)

  • One practical assessment
  • either Component 3 (Coursework)
  • or Paper 4 (Alternative to Coursework).

Your teacher will be able to tell you whether you are doing coursework (Component 3) or taking Paper 4.

  • If you are doing coursework, you will complete one assignment and take Paper 1 and Paper 2 in the examination.
  • if you are not doing coursework, you will take three papers in the examination, Paper 1, Paper 2 and Paper 4.

Make sure you always check the latest syllabus, which is available at  www.cambridgeinternational.org .

  • How you will be assessed
  • Please rotate your device
  • What skills will be assessed?

We take account of the following skill areas in your examination papers:

  • your knowledge (what you remember) and understanding (how you use what you know and apply it to new situations)
  • how you interpret and analyse information, e.g. data, graphs, diagrams, photographs
  • how you make judgements and decisions, including conclusions, based on information.

These skills are called assessment objectives. They are explained in the sections below. Your teacher will be able to give you more information about how each of these is tested in the examination papers.

What does the AO mean?

Remembering facts and applying these facts to new situations

What do you need to be able to do?

Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the wide range of processes, including human actions, contributing to the development of a. physical, economic and social environments and their effects on the landscape b. spatial patterns and interactions which are important within these environments
  • the relationships between human activity and the environment
  • the importance of scale (whether local, regional or global)
  • the changes which occur through time in places, landscapes and spatial distribution

How you select information and apply geographical understanding to explain the information

  • Interpret and analyse geographical data
  • Use and apply geographical knowledge and understanding to maps and in numerical, diagrammatic, pictorial, photographic and graphical form
  • Use geographical data to recognise patterns in such data and to deduce relationships
  • Select and show understanding of techniques for observing and collecting data
  • Select and use techniques for organising and presenting data.

Being able to make judgements based on information and recognise possible decisions

Use your geographical training to:

  • an appreciation of the attitudes, values and beliefs of others in issues which have a geographical dimension
  • an awareness of the contrasting opportunities and constraints of people living in different places and under different physical and human conditions
  • a willingness to review their own attitudes in the light of the views of others and new knowledge acquired
  • the physical and human contexts in which decisions are made
  • the values and perceptions of differing groups or individuals
  • the choices available to decision makers
  • the increasing level of global interdependence and the need for sustainable development.
  • Command words
  • The flipcards below include command words used in the assessment for this syllabus. The use of the command word will relate to the subject context.
  • Example candidate response
  • All information and advice in this section is specific to the example question and response being demonstrated. It should give you an idea of how your responses might be viewed by an examiner but it is not a list of what to do in all questions. In your own examination, you will need to pay careful attention to what each question is asking you to do.
  • Question  The question used in this example is from Paper 1 and is an example of a structured-answer question. Now let’s look at the question to see what the ‘command words’ for this question mean for your answer. (c) For a named country you have studied, describe the problems caused by over population. Describe is the command word in this question. This means that you state the main features of the problems caused by overpopulation. Using examples is an excellent way of supporting your descriptions.

igcse geography case study questions

  • Example candidate response and examiner comments
  • (c) For a named country you have studied, describe the problems caused by over population. Name of country: Ghana Ghana is noted to be one of the top countries known to be overly populated. With this, we see that there is pressure on Ghana’s resources. The population of Ghana is very high and because of this water supply would reduce, there would be pressure on the electricity in Ghana because so many people in the country are using the power. Ghana’s government revenue would reduce. The government of Ghana would put in a bit of money to improve medication to new ones, rebuild hospitals, care homes, provide new and well trained doctors, re-construct roads bring more water from another place where there is no supply of water. Ghana has a high rate of crime due to overpopulation. When there is a crowded area people who are uneducated would want to cause a scene and steal and kill people. There is a high spread of so many diseases in Ghana. Diseases such as cholera due to the water we drink as a country and also people use dirty hands to eat. When there are crowded, immediately one person gets the disease it spreads to another person and moves on. The settlements in Ghana are congested. An example is Nima. Nima is very congested and the homes are all together and there is even no space for a car to park. Over-population brings about unemployment because there are a lot of people in the country. Over-population brings noise.
  • Explore the advice below to help you revise and prepare for the examinations.  It is divided into general advice for all papers and more specific advice for Paper 1, Paper 2, and Paper 4.
  • Find out when the examinations are and plan your revision so you have time to revise.
  • Create a revision timetable and divide it into sections to cover each topic.
  • Find out how long each paper is, how many questions you have to answer, how many marks there are for each question, and work out how long you have for each question.
  • Find out the choices you have on each paper, make sure you know how many sections there are and which sections you should answer from.
  • When there is a choice of questions in a section, make sure you revise enough to have a choice.
  • Know the meaning of the command words used in questions and how to apply them to the information given.
  • Look at past examination papers and highlight the command words and check what they mean.
  • Make revision notes. Try different styles of notes.
  • Work for short periods then have a break.
  • Revise small sections of the syllabus at a time.
  • Test yourself by writing out key points, redrawing diagrams, etc.
  • Make sure you define geographical terms accurately, e.g. deforestation is not simply ‘cutting down trees’, it is ‘the total deliberate removal or clearance of forest/trees by cutting and/or burning at rates faster than natural regeneration or without replanting’.
  • Definitions must not reuse the words to be defined. E.g. land pollution means the contamination (pollution) of the earth’s surface (land) by the unplanned or illegal disposal of waste substances.
  • Make your own dictionary or draw up a glossary of key terms for each section of the syllabus. Look at maps, diagrams, tables, etc. to find out what they show; e.g., recognising landforms and settlement patterns on maps and photographs.
  • Practise drawing clear, IGO, neat, fully-labelled diagrams and maps.
  • Learn your case studies thoroughly. What do they show? How you might use them? Where in the world are they? Are they are local, regional, international or global scale?
  • Make a list of case studies for each section of the syllabus.
  • Look at past questions and decide which case study would be best to answer each one.
  • Know your own local case studies, whenever possible.
  • Learn to spell geographical terms correctly.
  • Have a look at past questions so that you are clear of what to expect in an examination.
  • Look at mark schemes to help you to understand how the marks are awarded for each question.
  • Read the instructions carefully and answer the right number of questions from the right sections.
  • Do not answer more questions than are needed, as this will not gain you more marks in the examination.
  • Plan your time according to the marks for each question. For example, a question worth three marks requires less time and a shorter answer than one worth 10 marks.
  • If a question has several parts, then the parts with more marks will need more time and more developed answers.
  • Do not leave out questions or parts of questions.
  • Remember, no answer means no mark.
  • Identify the command words – you could underline or highlight them
  • Identify the other key words and perhaps underline them too
  • Try to put the question into your own words to understand what it is really asking.
  • Read all parts of a question before starting your answer. Think carefully about what is needed for each part. You will not need to repeat material.
  • Read the title, key, axes of graphs, etc. to find out exactly what it is showing you
  • Look for dates, scale, and location
  • Try using coloured pencils or pens to pick out anything that the question asks you about.
  • Answer the question. This is very important! Use your knowledge and understanding. Do not just write all you know, only write what is needed to answer the question.
  • Plan your answers. Clear, concise, well-ordered, well-argued, well-supported answers get more marks than long, rambling, muddled, repetitive ones. Quality is better than quantity.
  • Use geographical terms in your answers as much as possible.
  • Use the resource material given in the question to support your answer. Annotated maps, diagrams and graphs can help you, and be used to support your answer. Use them whenever possible but do not then repeat the information in words.
  • Use case study material even when it is not required specifically by the question. Case studies and examples can come from your home area
  • Make sure your writing is clear and easy to read. It is no good writing a brilliant answer if the examiner cannot read it.
  • Look at the instructions on the front of the paper. You have to choose three out of the six questions, one out of two questions in each section so that you answer a question on each of the three themes.
  • Do not try to answer all the questions, you will not have time to answer them properly.
  • Write the answers to the questions in the spaces in the question and answer booklet provided, using this as a rough guide to the amount of detail and length of answer that is needed.
  • If you run out of space continue the answer on the spare lined sheet at the back of the booklet. Make sure you number any continuation answers carefully and also indicate that your answer is continued on the extra page at the end of your partly-written answer.
  • Look at the number of marks available for each part of a question. Do not spend too much time on one part if it is only worth one or two marks, or alternatively write only a short answer when a question is worth more marks.
  • Timing is important, do not spend too much time on your first chosen question, otherwise you will have to rush the last question.
  • Just in case you run out of time, if there is a question which you are not confident on, answer it last.
  • Read the information given in the stem of the question carefully as well as the questions themselves.
  • Wherever possible in your answers try to include relevant examples and case studies. There may be local examples which you could use in your answers.
  • Where you are asked to complete an answer by labelling or drawing on a resource you must do this rather than writing an answer.
  • If you use any extra sheets make sure that you put your name on them and attach them to your answer booklet before handing it in.
  • When you are asked to use a written resource you will not be given marks for copying out sections from it.
  • Look at the question you are being asked and try to show your understanding by answering in your own words.
  • If you are asked to compare or describe the differences between two things it is no good just writing about one. You could use words like ‘bigger’ or ‘more’ to help you compare or a word like ‘whereas’ in the middle of your sentence, e.g. ‘a constructive wave deposits material on the coast whereas a destructive wave erodes material from it’.
  • Try to be as precise as possible as vague statements are unlikely to get you many marks. e.g. ‘A Stevenson Screen is used to get accurate readings’ is far too vague. You need to give details explaining why readings are accurate when a Stevenson Screen is used (the louvers allow a free flow of air, the white surface reflects the sun’s rays, it allows you to take temperatures in the shade etc.).
  • Make sure you know the differences between global environmental problems which you may have studied. Many people mix up global warming, ozone depletion and acid rain.
  • You must also make sure you do not mix up causes and effects / consequences – you may be asked for one or the other so read the question carefully.
  • This paper is testing a range of skills.
  • Try to be as accurate as you can with measuring and plotting.
  • Take your time, take care and always use a ruler to complete graphs and measure straight line distances.
  • Many questions ask you to ‘use the evidence’ in the resources provided such as the maps, photographs and graphs.
  • You must make sure that you do so rather than using your background knowledge, e.g. if you are asked to describe the features of an industry shown in a photograph there is no need to include general information about that industry and its location.
  • If you are asked to describe features of a coastal area shown on a map there will be no credit for explaining how they were formed.
  • If you are asked to use evidence from the map to explain why there are no settlements in some areas there is no point in referring to the climate as the map extract is unlikely to include information about it.
  • Practise basic map skills, for example six-figure grid references. Candidates sometimes get the third and sixth figures confused.
  • Make sure you give the reference for the position of the symbol rather than the name of the place.
  • If you are asked to measure a distance it is worth using the linear scale below the map and a straight edged piece of paper. By doing this you will be less likely to make mistakes which are possible when using calculation to convert centimetres to kilometres and metres.
  • Look carefully at what units you need to use, whether you should answer to the nearest kilometre or in metres.
  • Make sure you always give the units in your answer rather than just writing down the number.
  • You could be asked to give a direction or a compass bearing.
  • Make sure you know the difference and check which of the features you are measuring from and to, by looking carefully at the wording of the question.
  • If you are asked to draw a graph be as accurate as you can, measuring carefully and using a ruler.
  • Take care to draw the type of graph that the question asks for rather than a different type of graph.
  • Make sure you know how to draw and read a divided bar graph; it is used in a different way from a normal bar graph.
  • This paper is an alternative to coursework and to prepare for it you need to be able to answer questions about collecting, presenting and analysing data like you would in a geographical investigation. There is nearly always a question that asks you to write a conclusion and an evaluation. You need to practise these skills.
  • Many of these questions are based on a hypothesis. Make sure you are familiar with testing hypotheses.
  • You will be given resources to use in the examination which you have not seen before, perhaps different types of graphs or diagrams. Look at the diagrams carefully and think carefully about what they are showing before you answer the questions. You may be asked to complete a diagram, in which case you need to complete it accurately and carefully.
  • You will have to answer questions about data which has already been collected as part of an investigation. This could be a set of figures, graphs or maps. One of the things you will be asked to do is to recognise and describe patterns or trends, e.g. the distribution of rainfall over an area as shown on a map or over time as shown on a graph, the amount of erosion alongside a footpath as shown on a diagram. You should practise this skill, using data which you have collected yourself, or data from your teacher.
  • If you are asked questions about the data in the resources you will be expected to use that data rather than simply listing or repeating the figures, e.g. you may be asked to compare two sets of data about different places, look for a relationship between two or more sets of data or recognise similarities and differences. However it is always useful to support your answer by referring back to the resource and quoting data from it.
  • Learn about the different types of samples that can be used when collecting data – you may be asked to describe the advantages of using systematic or stratified sampling for example. Many candidates assume that the only sample that can be taken is a random sample.
  • You may be asked to suggest practical ways in which something could be improved. This could be an actual investigation or something which has been investigated, e.g. the amount and distribution of pollution in a river. You will be expected to be realistic in your suggestions so always think about whether they are practical. For example to suggest that all the residents of a town should be interviewed rather than taking a sample is unrealistic. Similarly, to suggest that all factories alongside the river are shut down is not a suggestion which is practical.
  • When asked to write a conclusion you need to look at the evidence and then say whether you think the hypothesis is correct or not. In a few cases it may be only partly correct. You must then give evidence to support your conclusion. This evidence must be based on the data provided in the question.

Drag colour option

Theme 1: Population and settlement

  • 1.1 Population dynamics 1.2 Migration 1.3 Population structure 1.4 Population density and distribution 1.5 Settlements and service provision 1.6 Urban settlements 1.7 Urbanisation

Theme 2: The natural environment

  • 2.1 Earthquakes and volcanoes 2.2 Rivers 2.3 Coasts 2.4 Weather 2.5 Climate and natural vegetation

Theme 3: Economic development

  • 3.1 Development 3.2 Food production 3.3 Industry 3.4 Tourism 3.5 Energy 3.6 Water
  • Useful websites
  • The websites listed below are useful resources to support your Cambridge IGCSE Geography studies

Geography all the way

Stumbling Around in the Dark Together

Geography igcse case study cards.

igcse geography case study questions

  • The Cambridge Home Educator
  • May 9, 2020 April 14, 2022
  • Development Studies , Environmental Management , Geography , KS4/GCSE

These cards were created in 2019 to support revision for the CAIE Cambridge IGCSE Geography (9-1) (0976) exam, but also have a lot of crossover with the CAIE Environmental Management IGCSE.

They include case studies for theme 1: population and settlement, theme 2: the natural environment, theme 3: economic development, and cards to help with answering the geographical enquiry section of the exam.

Some of the case studies can also be quite helpful for illustrating aspects of the IGCSE Environmental Management and IGCSE Development Studies syllabuses.

Apologies. They were written in haste just before the exams, so have quite a few spelling mistakes/typos etc. that I haven’t yet made time to remove. One day…

  • Print out cards
  • Cut in half along the longest length
  • Fold in half along the shortest length.
  • Most cards can be stuck back to back, but in order to get the cards in a preferred order, you might want to cut some cards along the line you have just folded and either leave a few ‘backless’ or stuck to a different ‘other side’. (Sorry, I don’t know how to describe that any better.)
  • Laminate the cards for extra strength (or paper printouts onto card).
  • Make a single hole punch in the top right-hand corner, and either put the cards on a large key ring or break up into themes and use split pins/butterfly clips.

One Reply to “Geography IGCSE Case Study Cards”

Great resources on migration from the Migration Museum, London: https://www.migrationmuseum.org/resource-bank/

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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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135 thoughts on “ Case Studies ”

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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?

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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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This case study summaries for the updated syllabus covering ALL of the course in detail: Theme 1 Population and Settlement, Theme 2 The Natural Environment, Theme 3 Economic Development.

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Internet Geography

Population and Settlement

iGCSE Geography

igcse geography case study questions

Population Dynamics

Introduction to population

click to view

World Population Increase

Overpopulation and underpopulation

Causes of change in population size

Natural Population Change

Population Policies

High population growth - China

Over-population - Bangladesh

Under-population - Australia

A country with a low rate of population growth or decline – Japan

What is migration and why do people migrate?

What are the impacts of migration?

International migration from Syria to Europe

Population Structure

Population Pyramids and Economic Development

Japan - a country with a high dependent ratio

Population Density and Distribution

What is population density?

What factors affect population density and distribution?

A sparsely populated area - Himalayan Mountains

A densely populated area - Greater London

Settlements and service provision

What is a settlement?

Patterns of settlement

Site and situation of a settlement

What are the functions of a settlement?

Hierarchy of settlements and services

Settlement and service provision in an area

Urban settlements

Characteristics of land use

Changes in land use

Problems of urban areas, their causes and possible solutions

Case study of an urban area

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Subject: Geography

Age range: 14-16

Resource type: Assessment and revision


Last updated

13 January 2020

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This saved me during my gcses! Learnt all the information for the case studies and ended up with an A*! Would totally recommend!

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