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 Geography Paper 2 , Nov/Dec 2008
 Questions: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Main
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Question 9

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Using specific examples, describe how each of the following factors affects the vegetation of Africa:

(a) rainfall;
(b) altitude;
(c) soil type.

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Observation

This was a very unpopular question among the candidates and many who answered it performed very poorly.

The expected answers to part (a) include:

-           Areas with heavy rainfall of over 150 cm have dense forests e.g. equatorial region of Africa.
-           Areas with rainfall throughout the year have evergreen vegetation e.g. Tropical Rain Forest.
-           The areas with winter rainfall and dry summer have Mediterranean vegetation e.g. North and South Coast of Africa.
-           Where rainfall is less than 150 cm and occurs mainly in summer, the vegetation is often grass e.g. Savannah and veldt.
-           Where rainfall is very low e.g. less than 50 cm, the vegetation is semi desert and desert e.g. Sahara, Kalahari and Namib deserts.

The ways altitude affects the vegetation of Africa include:

- Altitude leads to vertically zoned vegetation types;
- Montane vegetation is found in areas of high altitude e.g. Mt. Kenya, Cameroon, Jos plateau etc;
- The windward slop of mountains have rainforest vegetation;
- The Leeward side of mountains are sparsely wooded and support only grasses;
- Owing to the effect of relief on rainfall, at very high altitude, moss often occur as the predominant vegetation;
- Montane vegetation shows a horizontal distribution, which varies according to both the altitude and position of the mountain.

Soil types affect the vegetation of Africa in the following ways:

- In the Mediterranean regions, there is limestone soil which gives rise to low growing vegetation called garrigue;
- Clay soils in areas of high rainfall give rise to mangrove swamps e.g. Niger Delta;
- Areas with loamy soils and good rainfall give rise to luxuriant vegetation e.g. rain-forest belt;
- Sandy soils give rise to poor grassland and desert e.g. Sahara