Extreme Environments - Deserts


  • Created by: Anna
  • Created on: 30-11-11 17:43

Definition of an Extreme Environment


An extreme environment is a place which has harsh conditions that humans find hard to live in. These include extremes of temperature and landscape. Even though extreme environments are not suitable for living, there are still animals that can live in extreme conditions.

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Where are the world's hot deserts located?


Hot deserts on Earth are generally situated 15 - 40 degrees North or South of the equator.

The Sahara Desert is situated in North Africa

Other hot deserts are in south North America, west South Amercia, South Africa and most of Australia

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Problems People Face in the Desert

Keeping head cool to stop heat stroke

Lack of food and water - dew trap

Dangerous insects - eat them

Sand Storms on hills

Heat Stroke - shelter - for freezing cold nights also

Quick sand

Navigating at night - the stars

Poisonous plants

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How the Desert Landscape is Formed


Erosion - The wearing away and removal of material

Weathering - The breakdown of rocks through mechanical, chemical and biological processes

Deposition - The putting down or dropping of material carrier by wind or water

Transportation - The movement of material by wind or water

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How some Plants adapt to live in the Desert

Xerophyte - Plants adapted to life in dry areas e.g. Cacti

Saguaro Cactus features

  • Thick waxy skin - reflects some of the Sun's heat and reduces loss of moisture
  • Can store 8000 litres of water
  • Spike instead of leaves - reduces loss of water and stops animals from eating it
  • Pleats on plant - expand to absorb more water
  • Moisture on stem
  • Long but shallow roots - soak up as much water as possible after rainfall
  • Seeds lay dormant till rainfall
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How deserts can be used



Som Bendouin Nomads - sustainable way of life - use simple recources and herd lot's of animals for food.They also use clever ways to collect water They are nomadic so are always looking for fresh pasture. They have developed a very clever way of being able to live in a place where many people could not.

People who live in the desert may migrate to urban areas, such as big cities because life it is an easier way of life. They could also seek better living oppurtunties to make more income in the city.

The desert can also be used for recreational purposes

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Causes and Affects of Desertification

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Solutions to Desertification

Agroforestry - Plant between trees to avoid leaving areas bare

Contow Ploughing - Ploughing along contors rather than acroos them

Crop rotation - Leave the feild fallow for one year in every three or four

Population management - the root of the problem???

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This was really helpful

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