AQA GCSE Biology

Revision Notes

7.3.3 Land Use

Land Use

  • The increasing human population of the planet means an increasing amount of land is required for activities such as building, quarrying, farming and dumping waste
  • This is causing the destruction of many habitats, such as rainforests and woodlands
  • This reduces the biodiversity of these areas and interrupts food chains and webs, meaning that more species may die because their prey is gone
  • The main reasons for habitat destruction include:

Increasing human land use table

Increasing human land use, downloadable IGCSE & GCSE Biology revision notes

Peat Bogs

  • Bogs are areas of land that are waterlogged and acidic – plants living in bogs do not decay fully when they die due to a lack of oxygen
  • The partly decomposed plant matter accumulates over very long periods of time and forms peat
  • The carbon that would have been released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide (if the plants had been able to fully decompose) is instead stored in the peat
  • Peat bogs are also important habitats for many species (eg. migrating birds)

Why they are being destroyed

  • Peat bogs are drained so that the area can be used for farming
  • Peat can be dried and used as a fuel
  • Peat can be used to produce compost for gardens or farms to increase food production

Negative impacts

  • Carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere when peat is burned as a fuel – this contributes to global warming
  • Similarly to fossil fuels, peat bogs take so long to form that peat is effectively a non-renewable energy source
  • The available peat bog habitat area for many species of animals, plants and microorganism is decreasing, reducing biodiversity
  • Peat bogs are being destroyed faster than they can form – they are being used unsustainably

Exam Tip

Be careful – some students think that destroying peat bogs releases methane into the atmosphere. This is wrong. The destruction of peat bogs releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (especially if the peat is burned as a fuel).

Author: Jenna

Jenna studied at Cardiff University before training to become a science teacher at the University of Bath specialising in Biology (although she loves teaching all three sciences at GCSE level!). Teaching is her passion, and with 10 years experience teaching across a wide range of specifications – from GCSE and A Level Biology in the UK to IGCSE and IB Biology internationally – she knows what is required to pass those Biology exams.
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