Fighting the desert

Assess the significance of the protection of forests on the Earth, the significance of forests for the whole planet

First, the students form groups to discuss why deserts form, i.e. various causes behind the deserts. What is the rate of spread of the Sahara? Why there is so little water?
The students are directed towards realising themselves that people contribute to the formation and spread of the deserts. The main cause is massive deforestation.
What are the reasons behind deforestation? The students discuss within the groups and in discussion with other groups, they find out the main causes of deforestation – fuel demand, agriculture cultivation, demand for pastures, international debt, etc.
The next part focuses on the relation between coping with famine in certain parts of the planet and deforestation. The students should realise that the relation between famine and deforestation is, in fact, a vicious circle. Fewer trees = famine; famine = fewer trees.
Forests are our planet’s salvation. In most cases, desert cannot be reverted.
In the end, the students compare gains and losses from deforestation and reflect on how deforestation could be stopped, thus retarding the spread of deserts worldwide.

How this resource relates to Shaping Characters objectives

  • Attitudes and attributes
  • Education techniques

Actual outcomes

Fighting the Desert
Assess the significance of the protection of forests on the Earth, the significance of forests for the whole planet
Qualities in focus: Decision-making, cooperation, respect, thinking about the future
Target group, age of the students: 12–16 years of age
Suitable for: Natural Science, Physics, ecology Seminar, Chemistry

Resources required

Sheets of paper and writing utensils

Time needed

Two hours

What could have been done differently or is planned for future repeats?

The students were able to find the main causes of formation of deserts; they are familiar with this issue. However, they were surprised how fast the Sahara spreads – roughly 50 km per year!

Links to related resource files

Contact information

hana.fantova@olomouc.eu