Guide to learn all your case studies and the igcse cambridge revision guide for theories and key terms

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What do you need to know?

You should use this CASE STUDY guide to learn all your case studies AND the IGCSE Cambridge revision guide for theories and key terms

This is mainly for your 7 mark case study questions and there are exam questions included for you to practise.


Theme 1. Population and Settlement

1.1 Population dynamics

1.2 Settlement
Theme 2. The natural environment

2.1 Plate tectonics

2.2.1 Weathering

2.2.2 River processes

2.2.3 Marine processes

2.3.1 Weather/ 2.3.2 Climate/ Ecosystems

2.3.3 Natural hazards

2.3.4 Human impacts: National Parks

Theme 3. Economic development and the use of resources

3.1 Agricultural systems

3.2 Industrial systems

3.3 Leisure activities and tourism

3.4 Energy and water resources

3.5 Environmental risks and benefits: resource conservation and management

Case studies by unit


Topic and case study:



Rapid population growth: Case Study Niger

Overpopulation/anti natalist policy: Case Study: China

Under population: Pro natalist policy: Case Study Singapore / Italy

Population density and distribution: Case study: Botswana

International Migration: Mexico to USA

Rural to urban migration (internal migration) Case study: Brazil

HIV/AIDS: Case study: Botswana

1.2 Settlement

Case study: Rural settlements and Ethiopia and France

Case study: The reasons for the growth of an urban settlement: Seville

Case study: Urban model Seville

Case study: The effects of urbanisation / urban sprawl LEDC Case study: Rio de Janiero

Case study: The effects of urbanisation / urban sprawl MEDC Case study: Atlanta

Case study: Urban problems: Cairo, Egypt LEDC


Case study: Volcanic eruption MEDC Mount St Helens

Case study: Volcanic eruption LEDC: Mt. Pinatubo volcano in the Philippines 1991

Case study: Earthquake LEDC Haiti

Case study: Earth quake MEDC Kobe, Japan earthquake 1995


Case study: formation of a waterfall Niagara Falls

Case study: Living by Deltas Ganges, LEDC, Bangladesh

Case study: Flooding of the Brahmaputra and Ganges Rivers, Bangladesh (LEDC)

Case study: Flooding MEDC Boscastle UK

Case study: River management in MEDC: Mississippi River, USA


Case Study: Coastal erosion, transportation & deposition: The Hel Spit Poland

Case study: Coastal Landforms: The twelve apostles

Case study Coral Reefs: The Great Barrier Reef


Case study: Tropical Rainforest climate: Madagascar

Case study: Tropical Desert Climate: Sahel, Africa


Case study: Drought: Australia MEDC

Case Study: Drought Ethiopia LEDC

Case study: MEDC Tropical Storm: Hurricane Floyd, USA 1999 (MEDC)

Case study: LEDC Tropical Storm: Cyclone Myanmar


Case study: Deforestation of Tropical Rainforest: Amazon Rainforest

Case study: Sustainable Rainforest Scheme: Costa Rica

Unit 1.1 Population Dynamics

Population growth

The world’s population is increasing rapidly

Natural population change (NPC) is worker out by:
If the answer is positive the growth rate is getting bigger and if the number is negative the growth rate is getting smaller.
The unit is usually per 1000 people and to make it a percentage you must divide by 10.

Demographic transition model

The model shows that as a country develops the BR and DR change.

It is based on what happened in Europe and America in the past and is now used to predict the population changes that will occur to developing nations (LEDCs)

Rapid population growth: Case Study Niger

Where is Niger?

West Africa, next to Algeria, Libya, Chad and Nigeria.

Information on Niger:

One of the poorest countries in the world

Mostly nomadic farming

Fertility rate of 7.1 babies born per woman

½ population is under 15 years old

It has a youthful population

Population is rising as death rates fall and birth rates stay the same or increase.

Why are death rates falling?

Vaccinations for children against diseases

Better supplies of water

Better diet

Better health care

Women becoming educated

Why are the birth rates so high?

Children needed to support farming

No sex education in countryside

Children wanted to look after parents when they are old

No social security

5% of people have access to contraception

Problems with population growth:

Limited access to clean water and resources

No enough schools or jobs

Increase family planning clinics and education

Educate women

Higher age of marriage set to 18

Over or under population

Over or under population

Overpopulation: The number of people living in a place is more than the amount of resources available – not enough resources to go around

Under population: The number of people living in a place is less than the number of resources available – an excess of resources and a loss of money for the country, limited workforce

Overpopulation/anti natalist policy: Case Study: China

Where? Asia

What? People encouraged to have lots of children in the 1950s/60s to ensure Chinese victory in event of a war.

Problem: No enough food, jobs, healthcare, housing or services for all the people and population was still rising in 1970. The crime rate was rising and the country, air and water were becoming polluted. A very low quality of life.

Solution: One Child policy: Couples in cities only allowed to have one child and must apply for permission from the government. Free contraceptives and education on family planning for all and an excessive propaganda campaign. Couples in rural areas may have two children if the first is girl or first child disabled or died.



China’s population of about 1.3 billion is said to be 300 million (.3 billion) smaller than it would likely have been without the enactment of this policy.

The fertility rate has fallen to 1.7 births per woman.

Such a reduction in fertility reduced the severity of problems that come with overpopulation, like epidemics, slums, overwhelmed social services (health, education, law enforcement, and more), and strain on the land from farming and waste


Uneven proportion of boys to girls as many girls are aborted, heavy fines put on couples who wish to have a second child so richer people can afford it while the poor cannot. Spoiled children.

Some babies killed or sold if they are girls. Some women forced to have abortions or be sterilised.

BUT: Population growth has been stabilised, policy has been relaxed since 2003.

Under population: Pro natalist policy: Case Study Singapore / Italy

Where? Asia

What? Independent from the British since 1965, from 1950s tried to limit population by encouraging smaller families but now has a declining population and a limited workforce

Anti natalist 1970s: Abortion and sterilisation made legal, ‘stop at two’ campaign, extra tax on third child, best schools’ places given to those with fewer children.

Pro natalist 1980s: increased immigration, female university graduates having children were given the best school places, grants given to new parents, tax rebates for third child, day care for children subsidised, 4 years maternity leave for civil servants.

Outcomes: Not much change in the BR but immigration has continued to help the economy

Where? Europe

Low fertility rates of 1.23 children per family

Ageing population

Some women feel that they cannot work and cope with raising a family too

Some men not doing sufficient household chores

Poor service provision for childcare in preschool years

Childless no longer bears a stigma

Social pressure to marry and have children is less

Even though head of the catholic church is in Italy – contraception use is high

Yuppiedom – preference for luxury goods delays marriage and babies

Less than 1/3 mothers have children before 28 years

Young people live at home with parents longer to save rent etc. which delays relationships and births


10,000 euro bonus for births in a village in Mezzogiornio as mayor concerned that young people will not enter village otherwise

Population density and distribution:

Why are some places densely populated?

Employment, flat land, good communications, fertile soil, reliable water supply and natural resources.

Why are some places sparsely populated?

Steep relief, infertile soil, cold climate, arid climate and marshy land.

Population density is the average number of people living in a given area (measured in people per km2)

Total number of land\total population = number of people per km2

But: Only if people are evenly spread out, which they are not!


Case study: Botswana, Kalahari desert Population density and distribution

Physical factors:

Kalahari area is semi desert with annual rainfall of less than 400 mm

Soil is sandy and not fertile and other areas are protected as national parks

Economic factors:

Farming is very difficult in the Kalahari desert

Land cannot support animals or crops

Few roads and transport links

Human factors:

Many people are nomadic farmers and have no fixed settlements.

Other areas:

Deltas are wet and swampy

Chobe district has many dangerous wild animals

There are large areas of salt plains with no drinking water

Migration and its effects on population

Types of migrants:

Asylum seeker: person who has left due to fear of persecution

Refugee: person has left due to fear for their life from war, famine etc. FORCED MIGRATION

International migrant: person who moves to another country (if for work: an economic migrant)

National migrant: person who moves to lives somewhere else in their own/the same country VOLUTARY MIGRATION

Illegal migrant: person who enters the country without permission

International Migration: Mexico to USA

What is the situation?

Mexicans make up 29.5 % of all foreigners in the USA.

Mexican immigrants account for about 20% of the legal immigrants living in the USA.

Brain drain is occurring out of Mexico.

e.g. An estimated 14,000 of the 19,000 Mexicans with doctorates live in the USA (International Organization for Migration)

PUSH factors:

Push factors from Mexico (Santa Ines) (2010)

Poor medical facilities – 1800 per doctor

Low paid jobs – GDP per capita $14,406

Adult literacy rates 55% - poor education prospects

Life expectancy 72 yrs.

40% Unemployed

Unhappy life – poor standard of living

Shortage of food

Poor farming conditions

National average poverty level of 37 percent

PULL factors:

Excellent medical facilities – 400 per doctor

Well paid jobs – GDP per capita $46,860

Adult literacy rates 99% - good education prospects

Life expectancy 76 yrs.

Many jobs available for low paid workers such as Mexicans

Better housing

Family links

Bright lights

Effects on USA

Illegal migration costs the USA millions of dollars for border patrols and prisons

Mexicans are seen as a drain on the USA economy

Migrant workers keep wages low which affects Americans

They cause problems in cities due cultural and racial issues

Mexican migrants benefit the US economy by working for low wages

Mexican culture has enriched the US border states with food, language and music

The incidents of TB has been increasing greatly due to the increased migration

Effects on Mexico (Santa Ines)

The Mexican countryside has a shortage of economically active people

Many men emigrate leaving a majority of women

Women may have trouble finding marriage partners

Young people tend to migrate leaving the old and the very young

Legal and illegal immigrants together send some $6 billion a year back to Mexico

Certain villages such as Santa Ines have lost 2/3 of its inhabitants

Rural to urban migration (internal migration) / Urbanisation Case study: Brazil, Sao Paulo

What and where: South America

Population urbanising in Brazil

Moving from north east rural areas e.g. Pernambuco village

Moving to Sao Paulo

SP – On the south east coast of Brazil, West of Rio de Janeiro

SP – Has expensive apartments and houses – large gardens, swimming pools, maids, children well educated, security guards etc.

BUT also favelas!

Push factors:

 Mechanisation of farms (bringing in machinery to replace workers) results in high rural unemployment

 Large landowners take back the land of their tenant farmers to grow cash crops (crops for money!) for export

 High infant mortality due to lack of clean water, electricity, sewerage and medical care

 Housing in rural areas is even worse than in the city

 Droughts and desertification (like the Sahel!) in NE Brazil

 Lack of services e.g. schools, shops, etc.

NE Push Factors – milking by hand, drought + desertification and Pernambuco village

Pull factors:

 Advertising campaigns were run in rural areas in the 1950s and 1960s to attract workers to the city

 More schools, doctors and other services in the city

 Successful migrants encourage people to join them

Café, better SOL / IT class better education / Skyline “Bright Lights”

Problems: effects on rural areas

o Mainly young men who migrate

o Brian Drain – intelligent tend to move, less intelligent stay

o Women, children and elderly left behind

o 27% of poor rural households headed by women

o Lowers birth-rates as lack of men

o Elderly struggle to support themselves

o Lack of workforce for farming – child labour is common

o Migrants send money back home to families – called remittances (a positive!)

Problems: effects on Sao Paulo

• 2,000 migrants arrive per week!

• Do not have money for apartment – end up in illegal favelas

• Favelas on outskirts of SP, on disused land e.g. opposite factories or on steep hillsides prone to landslides

• Made from wood, corrugated iron, cardboard etc.

• Most have no clean running water (cholera), toilets, safe electricity, rubbish collection

• Overcrowded, disease spreads

• High birth-rate, 6 kids per shack!

Management of problem – Self-Help Scheme

 Run by local government and NGOs (Non-government organizations)

 Local gov provides – breeze blocks, roofing tiles, electricity, clean water, tarred roads, community centre

 Self-help so favela dwellers – dig ditches for pipes + build houses

 Gives sense of pride + community spirit

Saves money so cheap houses

HIV/AIDS: Case study: Botswana

HIV: initial virus caught by the exchanging of bodily fluids, breast milk or blood – can be treated but not cured.

AIDS: later stages of HIV virus which attacks the immune system and allows other infections into the body.

Where: Africa (see above)


In 2005 an estimated 270,000 people living with HIV (total population below two million)

24.1% of people have HIV/Aids

Life expectancy less than 40 years in 2000-2005, a figure about 28 years lower than it would have been without AIDS.

An estimated 120,000 children have lost at least one parent to the epidemic.

First case 1985

Many people have more than one sexual partner

Ignorance about AIDS and how it is spread

Sick people cannot contribute to the economy or to their families

Large number of orphans with not enough government money to help them - no education or possibilities for the future


(1987-89) the screening of blood to eliminate the risk of HIV transmission through blood transfusion.

(1989-97) information, education and communication programmes – Botswana National Policy on AIDS.

(1997 onwards) education, prevention and comprehensive care including the provision of antiretroviral treatment for 19,000 people.

HIV prevention programme:

Public education & awareness –

  1. ABC” of AIDS: Abstain, Be faithful and, if you have sex, Condomize.

  2. Safe-sex billboards and posters everywhere.

  3. Radio drama dealing with culturally specific HIV/AIDS-related issues and encouraging changes in sexual behaviour.

  4. Workplace peer counselling.

Unit 1.2 Settlements

Rural Settlements:

Settlement: A place where people choose to live

MEDC: More economically developed country (richer countries like USA and European countries)

LEDC: Less economically developed country (poorer countries like Botswana, African countries)

Nomads: People who move from place to place and have no fixed settlement where they live

Urban settlements: Towns and cities (85% of people from MEDCs live in urban settlements)

Rural settlements: the countryside (75% of people in LEDCs live in rural settlements)

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