GCSE Biology – Human impact on the environment

Human impact on the environment is becoming a more and more important subject which is reflected in the GCSE Biology syllabus. You will need to know about how deforestation impacts on the environment along with intensive farming techniques and how farming methods have a central role to play in food security and sustainable food production. Global warming is still a key part of this topic and one that GCSE students should be familiar with having covered it in previous years. Finally, you will need to know about different types of pollution, air land and water.

Human Impact on the Environment – Revision

Why can deforestation be harmful?

– The removal of trees can lead to soil instability resulting in landslides. The trees are often burned which releases more carbon dioxide into the air contributing to global warming. Fewer trees means less carbon dioxide is being removed from the atmosphere. The land that the trees were on may be used for rearing livestock which release methane and further contribute to global warming.

How do farming techniques contribute to global warming?

– Cattle and rice produce methane which is a greenhouse gas. Less land for trees means less carbon dioxide is taken in through photosynthesis.

What does food security mean?

– It is the ability to provide food to the human population. It is thought that global warming is a threat to food security because as global temperatures rise, more and more land will be unsuitable for farming.

In what context does pollution come up in the GCSE Biology specifications?

– You need to know how humans are impacting on the environment through air, water and land pollution. You will look at specific examples of how we pollute and you’ll need to think of strategies of how to reduce this impact as this is a common type of exam question.

Is global warming part of my exam board?

– Yes, all the major exam boards cover global warming including AQA, OCR and Edexcel. It is essential you are confident with the causes of global warming and what measures we can take to help reduce the impact we are having.

What is sustainable food production?

– It is producing food in a way that can continue for many generations, so it doesn’t heavily impact on the environment as this would be unsustainable.

How is acid rain made?

– Gases such as sulfuric acid and nitric oxides are released from car engines and through burning certain fossil fuels. These gases dissolve in rain water producing acid rain.

What are the disadvantages of intensive rearing of livestock?

– Ethical concerns. More risk of disease with livestock in confined spaces.

Where Next?

– GCSE Biology Exam Questions By Topic 


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