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Geographical Factors (2)

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Geographical Factors

Human settlements have always been established by the water

(iv) Adequate Water supply. Population distribution or density is affected very much by the presence or absence of water in any region. Everything-man, plant or animal life-lives on water and , as' such, adequate supplies of water are necessary for different occupations. If water is available in deserts, then deserts soils can support a higher density of population. In the Nile Valley of Egypt, a large number of people are found who are engaged in the cultivation of superior quality cotton and many other crops. In India, the Rajasthan Canal Project is being developed to supply water to dry areas of Rajasthan. But unfortunately, water resources are very much limited in deserts and they are easily exhausted due to scarcity of water. Besides, due to relief features, all deserts lands are not suitable for irrigation purposes.



(v) Soils. Fertile alluvial soils of river valleys throughout the world have encouraged dense settlement of population because they favor the growth of agricultural activities. The high density of population in parts of Eastern and Southeast Asia is dependent mainly on fertile soil . Besides, in these areas, other natural or geography conditions like suitable climate for agricultural production, plain land suitable for irrigation purposes and efficient means of transportation have made agriculture a basic occupation of a large number of people. On account of these factors, dense population is found in the Ganges Valley in India, in Indus Valley in Pakistan, and in Hwang Ho Valley of China. Java in Indonesia has fertile soil of young volcanic material. The area supports a large population because the people are engaged in various agricultural pursuits such as cultivation of rice, sugarcane, plantation of rubber etc. No doubt man 'has been able to increase soil fertility by the application of chemical fertilizers and scientific crop rotation, but the presence of natural fertility in soil determines the population concentration in agricultural areas.



(vi) Mineral Deposits. Mineral deposits play a dominant role in population distribution. The presence of coal and iron-ore in different parts of the world has attracted huge population in these areas because these are the key minerals required for iron and steel industry. The industry has become a basic industry in modern times. Coal is used both as a raw material as well as a source of power in a number of manufacturing industries. Coalfields in the whole world have become densely populated centres because they offer scope for industrial development. For example, Appalachian coalfields in eastern U.S.A., Ruhr basin in West Germany, Pennines in the U.K., Bihar in India, Donetz basin in Soviet Union have thick concentration of population.

The existence of coal, iron-ore and other important minerals and the role of manufacturing industries are mainly responsible for high density of population in North-West Europe and North-east U.S.A. Here, although climatic and soil conditions are favorable for cultivation in certain areas, yet exploitation of mineral resources, manufacturing and trade have resulted in high densities of population in sharp contrast to Southeast Asian countries, where high densities are found in farming areas.

Some areas, though not favorable for human habitation, become centres of human settlement due to discoveries of important minerals there. For example, the discovery of gold in the deserts of Australia and Western U.S.A. and of copper in Andes mountain region of South America has made the respective area places of human settlement.

Next: Population Growth Causes










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