Land use of River Landscapes

It is not unusual in General, and fairly common in Credit exams to be asked about the land use of river landscapes, These are not ‘trick’ questions. They are meant to find out if you can go beyond recognising and explaining features to put them in a human context. In this case you need to know the sorts of uses the different landscapes are put to, and why these are suitable uses. This often has to do with the features and how they were formed. So these questions test all of your knowledge and understanding of rivers and river landscapes.

Upper course

 

water cascading over a waterfall

 

 

Here are the main land uses along with some of the reasons for their suitability.

  • Tourism – sightseeing, gorge walking. Waterfalls and ravines can be spectacular. Angling – good source of income for landowners, especially in salmon rivers.
  • Farming – sheep, deer. Poor soils, steep slopes and poor weather limit farming.
  • Forestry – poor soils, steep slopes and poor weather may make forestry more economical than farming.
  • Reservoirs – high rainfall provides water for towns lower down. ‘V’ shaped valleys are fairly easy to dam and provide deep reservoirs.
  • Hydro Electric Power (HEP) – high rainfall, steep slopes provide fast flowing water.

Middle course

 

A river

 

Here are the main land uses along with some of the reasons for their suitability.

  • Settlement – towns built on flat land near river bridging point. Routes along the valley often meet at bridges.
  • Farming – on flat valley floor where soils and weather are better.
  • Tourism – farmers provide simple accommodation (B&B, caravan, camping) to supplement their income. Middle course location provides tourists with access to both uplands and lowlands.
  • Angling – good source of income for landowners, especially in salmon rivers.
  • Transport – using flatter valley floor.

Lower course

 

A barge on the River Main, Frankfurt

 

Here are the main land uses along with some of the reasons for their suitability.

  • Settlement – large towns or cities (though flooding can be a problem).
  • Farming – rich, fertile alluvial soils provide a wide range of farming opportunities with dairying close to settlements.
  • Transport – wide, flat valley floor makes transport easy. A big river can carry ships and barges.
  • Industry – spacious, flat sites in the flood plain are easy to build on. Many raw materials can come in by river (e.g. oil to refineries).
  • Transport is straightforward. Large towns provide labour.
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