Hot Desert MEDC Case Study - Geography GCSE

The Sonoran Desert, Arizona, USA

  • Created by: Né M
  • Created on: 06-06-12 16:51


Location: The Sonoran Desert, Arizona, USA

About: This desert is one North Americas largest, hottest and wettest desert.
-there is over 300mm of rain per year in some places

It's very beautiful and contains a large diversity of flora and fauna 

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Responses to the desert

The USA can respond differently to the challenges and opportunities of a hot desert than other poorer countries such as India or Africa
-money enables physical difficulties to be overcome

  • The climate can be overcome by using air-conditioning in vehicles, houses, workplaces and shopping centres
  • Water can be piped around for irrigating crops, to supply drinking water and for leisure activities, e.g. to fill swimming pools and water golf courses

The clear, clean atmosphere and open spaces are an attraction to holiday makers as well as long term migrants

  • Recently, been have migrated to the desert for retirement migration, where people retire to newly built housing complexes with swimming pools and golf course
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Marana: a town in the Sonoran Desert

Population: 30,000
Location: A few kilometres from the city of Tuscon, Arizona

Has become an important business town and leisure resort

In 1920, a new irrigation system enabled it to become an agricultural centre specialising in cotton. In the '40s, agricultural production expanded to produce wheat, barley and pecans.
In the '90s farming declined to be replaced with housing developments, and today, only 15 cotton farms remain.
Wheat is produced and exported to Italy to make pasta

In 2007, Marana began hosting golf tournaments. 

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Managing the Sonoran Desert

In 1998 a conservation plan was initiated in order to 'conserve the county's most valued natural and cultural resources, whilst accommodating for population growth and economic expansion'.

This plan began from concerns about threats to wildlife as the housing development expanded.
An endangered species of owl was particularly vulnerable. 

The plan led to:

  • detailed mapping of the county's natural and cultural heritage
  • development of buffer zones around areas of ecological significance 
  • native plant protection
  • hillside development restrictions
  • home design recommendations in order to conserve energy and water
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