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Man-Environment relationships in tropical desert. F. 6 geography. 1. Climatic impact on man. Affect human eyes Mirages ( 海市蜃樓 )may form on hot and windless days lower mental ability 減低思考能力 upset metabolism 阻礙新陳代謝 Sandstorm may reduce visibility 減低能見度. 2. Use of underground.

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Man-Environment relationships in tropical desert

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Man environment relationships in tropical desert

Man-Environment relationships in tropical desert

F. 6 geography

1 climatic impact on man

1. Climatic impact on man

  • Affect human eyes

  • Mirages (海市蜃樓)may form on hot and windless days

  • lower mental ability 減低思考能力

  • upset metabolism 阻礙新陳代謝

  • Sandstorm may reduce visibility 減低能見度

2 use of underground

2. Use of underground

  • more reliable than surface water

  • Known as artesian (自流水井) – the aquifer(蓄水層) is trapped by impermeable beds above and below


  • The rock strata are arranged in a gentle downfold forming a shallow basin 岩層向下形成淺的盆地

  • Aquifer outcropping on the magins


  • Under pressure which cause the water to rise

The sahara s underground reservoirs

The Sahara’s underground reservoirs

There are seven basins with great capacities :

  • The Great Western Erg (西部大沙漠)

  • The Great Eastern Erg (東部大沙漠)

  • Tanezrouft (塔尼茲魯夫詩,阿爾及利亞)

  • Niger (尼日爾)

  • Fezzan (費贊,利比亞)

  • The Western Egyptian Desert (西部埃及沙漠)

  • Chad (乍得)

  • The three southern ones : Niger ,Chad and the western Desert are the largest, containing 75% of total reserve

Salt content

Salt content

  • Underground water have a high content of salt. It is because :

  • Evaporation causes salts to concentrate in the upper soil layers when water is drawn upwards

  • Endoric / inland drainage prevents salt from escaping out to sea 內陸河系防止鹽份消失

Man environment relationships in tropical desert

Atmospheric recycling cause wind to bring salt into the area from sea and other bodies of water 大氣循環將鹽份由海帶入內陸

  • The salinity level is expressed in parts of dissolved salt per million parts of water (ppm) 鹽度以ppm 作單位量度

  • It is 2500ppm to 4000ppm in desert( humid region only have about 570ppm)

  • The high ppm only suitable for livestock

Agricultural use

Agricultural use

  • Foggaras (坎兒井)are subterranean channels dug nearly horizontally to reach the watertable at a slightly higher point


  • These are common in Northern Saraha ,especially in Algeria


Man environment relationships in tropical desert

  • Funnels (漏斗)are used where the water table is just below the surface

  • Farmers dig down to it and plant their trees at the bottom 15-20 m down

  • The root of the trees ,e.g date palms (棗椰樹) ,can draw water directly from the water table

  • The Souf Oasis is one place where this method is used

Man environment relationships in tropical desert

  • Wells 35-50 m deep are dug in Egypt, with shadufs(汲水吊桿) used for drawing water

  • Artesian wells are used to irrigate large gardens and parks across the country

  • Water obtained from wells is purified and sent by pipeline to areas population

3 other method used to increase water supply

3.Other method used to increase water supply

  • Use of surface water

  • Pipelines and canals are also used to bring water from Hoggar or Atlas Mountain to cultivate the land 阿哈加爾山脈

  • Building Dam such as Aswan Dam in Egypt to provide perennial irrigation (全年灌溉)

  • It should be noted that most stream in desert are intermittent( 間歇)and ephemeral (短暫)

Man environment relationships in tropical desert

  • Creation of inland sea

  • this has been done by digging a canal from the Gulf of Gabes in Tunisia to Chott Melhrir to flood an area of 8000 sq km and create an inland lake which may cause dew and even rain 由突尼西亞的加貝斯灣至梅勒吉爾鹽沼,阿爾及利亞

    Man made rain

    - Experiment have been carried out in the Hoggar Mountains 阿哈加爾山脈

Man environment relationships in tropical desert

  • Distillation of sea water

  • sea water is used to supply communities along the coast with water, but this method is very costly as it requires desalination on a large scale

    For reference of artesian well ,can see :

4 nomadism

4. Nomadism

  • Over 60 % of the Saharan inhabitants were pastoral farmers, but now only 30%

  • The true nomads ,in Hoggar and Tibesti have to move continuously because grazing land is too poor and scattered

  • Nomads trade in golds, camels, silver, weapons,cloth ,etc Semi-nomads,like those in the Atlas Mountains herb sheep,goats and cattle and grow barley, wheat and fruit

5 cultivation

5. Cultivation

  • Poor land because one-third is eroded rock and lava , one third is sand dune

  • There are high mt like Hoggar and Tibesti Mountain .Difficult climatic conditions : extreme temp, intense insolation, insufficient rainfall

Man environment relationships in tropical desert

  • The soil is thin and infertile , sometimes a layer of salt accumulate on the surface

  • Locusts may destroy crop

  • Other unfavourable conditions:

  • Primitive methods of farming

  • Increase in population

6 mining

6. Mining

  • In the Sahara, there are rich deposit : oil ,natural gas, iron ,manganese , phosphate, coal, tin, lead and salt

  • Oil was discovered on the Libyan border at Hassi R’Mel

  • Pipelines were constructed leading to the port. The oil is pure, sulphur-free and occur at a shallow level

Man environment relationships in tropical desert

  • Natural gas were found in Salah, Hassi R’Mel , Hassi Messaoud

  • Pipelines were constructed to the ports where the gas is refined into methane and sent oversea by tankers or sent by pipeline to Spain, Italy and France

  • Iron and copper were discovered at Fort Gourand (Mauritania )

7 tourism

7. Tourism

  • There is the existence of large variety of amazing landscapes

  • The emptiness of the Sahara attracts many tourists who feel like pioneers

  • Oasis settlement and the nomad’s way of life are interesting to tourists

8 industries

8. Industries

  • The industries are mostly primary industries ,for example : mining for minerals

  • The natural resources provide fuel and raw materials for industries such as food processing, textiles and electrical goods manufacture in Alexandria and Algiers

9 communication

9. Communication

  • Roads and railway construction faces the following problems

  • the area is not well surveyed

  • Roads or railways serving prospecting areas might not need to be permanent

  • Settlements in desert are highly scattered

Man environment relationships in tropical desert

  • The cost of transporting building materials is high

  • Finding specialists and labour is difficult

  • There are technical problems such as shifting sand dunes and stony desert

  • Navigation is not possible cause the river in desert is shallow

  • In addition, shifting dunes, dust storms, intense insolation, lack of water supply, mountain and long distance all make development difficult

Sparse population

Sparse population

  • Uneven distribution : over 1000 /sq km in oasis , but less than one person /sq in the rest of Sahara

  • Sparse population will make the natural resource under utilization

Climatic change causing desertification

Climatic change causing desertification

  • Desertification means the desert expanding ,slowly taking in land previously not a desert

  • Since 5000 years ago , the aridity increase. Sand dune advance and invaded the Nile Valley cause the Nile flood decline . Famines are more common

  • The climate( especially rainfall ) is unpredictable, with no pattern of drought and non- drought years.Prolonged dryness will extend the desert areas

The impact of man on the environment

The impact of man on the environment

  • Misuse of underground water

    Underground water is lost in various way

    - Over–pumping

    Effects: decline in artesian pressure, lowering

    of water table, increase in salinity,

    artesian water become sub-artesian

    - groundwater pollution

    - inefficient irrigation

2 nomadic herding

2.Nomadic herding

  • As population increase, the farmers enlarge their herbs, and increase the range of their migration into land with fragile ecosystem

  • The range of migration controlled by fences and borders, hence the nomads cannot “follow the rain” freely to allow for unpredictable rainfall

  • This lead to to overgrazing and the trampling of soil by domestic animals

Man environment relationships in tropical desert

  • Too many animals grazing may exceeding the carrying capacity of land which deteriorates. It will remove vegetation cover and exposing soil to wind and water erosion

3 the felling of trees

3. The felling of trees

  • Surface runoff will increase, becoming fast-flowing torrents, eroding deep gullies

  • If the rate of the vegetation removal is greater than natural regrowth, the vegetation will be destroyed

4 cultivation

4. Cultivation

Irrigation may lead to various problems:

  • Salinization or alkalinization of soil

  • Waterlogging sometimes happened in some place

  • Irrigation systems trap silt

  • Overcultivation on marginal land

Man environment relationships in tropical desert

  • Mechanized farming also cause rapid soil erosion

  • Dry-land farming, wrong approach of ploughing will easily lead to soil erosion as soil is easily broken structure into fine silt

  • A short fallow or continuous cultivation may exhaust soil moisture and fertility

  • Monoculture is dangerous cause pest can reproduce rapidly under high temperature

5 increasing population

5. Increasing population

  • This produce a greater demand for water

  • It leads to greater decline in hydraulic pressure

  • A drop in water table

  • An increase in salinity

  • Artesian well may become subartesian

6 changes brought by mining in the sahara

6. Changes brought by mining in the Sahara

  • Mining lead to the development of towns and cities ,especially around oil field and mines

  • It cause a decline in agricultural

  • Mining may cause destruction of the soil structure ,exposing soil which is more easily eroded

Solutions to the problems of desertification

Solutions to the problems of desertification

  • Increase the production of meat by keeping camels instead of sheep, goats and cattle because camels can graze further from their source of water

  • Plant prickly pear (霸王樹)as a source of animal feed and to reduce runoff from rainstorms, thereby preventing soil erosion

Man environment relationships in tropical desert

  • Transfer people to other areas or activities, forcing emigration and providing education, as well as gaining some control over the use of land and water

  • Provide a green belt across North Africa to consist of farms, woodlands, shelter belts ,etc designed to offer soil and dune conditions, moisture conservation and afforestation

Man environment relationships in tropical desert

  • Reduced the salt content by soaking the ground through tubes

  • Keeping the soil covered under a plastic sheet

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