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GCSE Geography

Unit 1 - Climate, the Environment and People


This short unit introduces the concept of ecosystems. You will study ecosystems at a
variety of scales before undertaking a detailed case study of the Tropical Rainforest
in Amazonia. Your first piece of coursework is based on this study of Amazonia.

Key Issues and Questions

Ecosystems operate at a variety of • What is an ecosystem?

scales. • How are the components of ecosystems (inputs, outputs,
flows, stores, cycles and processes) linked?
• At what different scales do ecosystems operate?
Ecosystems can be perceived as a • In what ways can ecosystems be perceived as a resource?
resource for human benefit.
Changes occur in ecosystems as a • Why do ecosystems change?
result of natural processes and/or • How do changes affect their structure, process and stability?
human activity. The consequences • What are the consequences of changes in the ecosystem:
of such changes may go beyond the - for people within the ecosystem?
immediate ecosystem. - for people and environments beyond the ecosystem?
The impact of human activity on • How might ecosystems be both exploited and conserved?
ecosystems needs careful • Can both exploitation and conservation of ecosystems be
management to achieve managed in a sustainable way?

You will study the following ecosystems: British Woodland Ecosystem (Nap
Wood and The National Forest); Savanna Grasslands (Sahel desertification);
Tropical Rainforests (Amazonia)

Your case study of the Tropical Rainforests will help you answer the following:

How is the tropical rainforest structured?

How do indigenous people use the tropical rainforest?
How are we exploiting the rainforests?
What are the effects of deforestation?
What does sustainability mean?
How can we manage the tropical rainforest in a sustainable manner?

GCSE case study questions

These questions are from recent exams. They are worth 8 marks at Higher Tier / 5 marks at Foundation Tier.

(i) Name and locate an ecosystem you have studied

(ii) Describe how the ecosystem has been managed for sustainability
(iii) Explain how successful this management has been

(i) Name and locate an ecosystem you have studied

(ii) Describe the structure of the ecosystem referring to plants and animals (use diagrams if you wish)
(iii) Explain how and why people are changing (or have changed) the ecosystem structure

(i) Name a place where you have studied an ecosystem that is being used in an unsustainable way by
people or organisations
(ii) Name the type of ecosystem you have studied
(iii) Describe how people or organisations are using the ecosystem
(iv) Explain why this makes the ecosystem unsustainable

(i) Name and locate an ecosystem that is found on land

(ii) Describe the plants and animals found in this ecosystem
(iii) Explain how the plants and animals are adapted to the climate of this ecosystem