Geography of the Non-Western World:                          GEO 105 Recitation for Sections 11 & 14 (Wednesday)

Lab #5 Environmental Degradation                                  May 3, 2000

Lab #5 Essay due Wednesday, 5/17/00


Objectives:    (1) To gain familiarity of some current environmental conditions/issues in Africa and Asia

                        (2) Understand how human activities impact the natural environment


Procedure:   You will travel through Africa and Asia to:

                        (1) collect information on the environmental conditions of several countries and

                        (2) determine which human activities contribute to environmental degradation, specifically,

                              deforestation, desertification, and soil degradation.


Note:  the color maps used during recitation are on reserve as books: call#'s GEO 105-3 and GEO 105-4



Deforestation- the clearing and destruction of forests (especially tropical rainforests) to make way for expanding settlement frontiers and the exploitation of new economic opportunities (de Blij, Geography: Realms, Regions and Concepts 2000).


Desertification- land degradation in arid and semi-arid areas due to human activities.  Some scientists contend, however, that some parts of the world (e.g., the Sahel) are not experiencing desertification due to human activity, but are experiencing prolonged natural dry periods in which wetter conditions will return (Rowntree et al, Diversity Amid Globalization).


Soil Degradation- the alteration of soil into an unusable condition.  This can take place from: (1) poor farming practices, (2) improper livestock practices, (3) deforestation [stripping away of natural vegetation allows wind and water erosion to remove topsoil], (4) industrial pollution, and (5) natural processes.  



The Journey:


Part A.  Desertification

1. As you travel through Africa, which areas are experiencing desertification? (Handout: Figure 6.11--from textbook on reserve in library: Diversity Amid Globalization).  Don't worry about naming specific countries--just describe general locations. 


2. Arid and semi-arid areas are most susceptible to desertification.  Is this true in Africa?  Provide evidence to support your conclusion using the map in Goode's World Atlas, "Climatic Regions."


3. According to Rowntree et al., "the main culprits [of desertification] are improper cultivation and overgrazing, leading to the loss of soil."  As you travel through the countries of Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa, which of these two human activities did you find contributing to desertification in these countries? (See Goode's World Atlas, p. 32-33 "Predominant Economies").


4. What other environmental condition/issue did you come across in Africa?  Briefly explain.  (Pick one that interests you from Figure 6.11).


Part B. East Asia (Handout: Figure 11.10-from textbook on reserve in library: Diversity Amid Globalization)

1.  Where will you travel in China to find high rates of soil erosion?


2.  What type of human activity is contributing to soil erosion here? (See Goode's World Atlas, "Predominant Economies").  Please note that the type of soil in this plateau is naturally highly susceptible to water erosion and mass movement, so human activity accelerates this naturally occurring process (Troeh et al., Soil and Water Conservation). 


3.  Where has deforestation occurred in China?  Which river has been influenced by deforestation?  How has this river been affected by deforestation in China?





4.  What other environmental issue did you find of interest while traveling in East Asia? (See Figure 11.10). 





Part C.   South Asia & Southeast Asia

1.  Figure 13.7.  While traveling through Southeast Asia, you encounter deforestation in every country.  You realize, though, that deforestation is occurring for different reasons.  Briefly describe where each of the following activities is contributing to deforestation:  (a) commercial logging, (b) subsistence agriculture (i.e., vegetable crops), and (c) plantation crops.  Note: Sarawak and Sabah are not countries, but part of the country of Malaysia.  Java and Kalimantan are portions of the country of Indonesia.  Northern Luzon is part of Philippines.








2.  Compare Map 60 (Student Atlas of World Politics) and Figure 13.7.   Do you think there is a relationship between deforestation and soil degradation occurring in Southeast Asia?  Briefly explain.  





3.  Describe two ways in which agricultural activities in India have contributed to environmental degradation/water pollution.





How to receive full credit on you essay for Lab #5:

1.  Submit an essay based on this lab worksheet.  Essays based on the "Environmental Degradation" lab from Jonathan Smith's recitation (the other GEO 105 TA) will not receive a grade.  If you lose this sheet or your information that you collected, this lab will be posted on the course website by May 10 through the link "Lab Schedule for Spring term 2000" then under the heading "Wednesday recitations, Sections 11 and 14."  The maps used in this lab will be posted outside of my office beginning on Friday, May 5 and will also be available on reserve in two books:  call#'s GEO 105-3 and GEO 105-4.


2. Include in your essay the information you collected on this worksheet.  In other words, you will receive the maximum of 5 points if you include all the information from Parts A-C of this lab.  If your essay exceeds 2 pages, that's fine.  However, you have included too much detail if your essay exceeds 3 pages.


3.  Remember that 1 point is for spelling, grammar, and essay structure (don't forget an introduction and conclusion).