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Fundamentals of the Physical Environment Book Cover

Since its first publication in 1985, Fundamentals of Physical Geography, and its successor, Fundamentals of the Physical Environment, have been adopted on student courses world-wide and the latter is now regarded as one of the classic textbooks in the field. The fourth edition seemed an appropriate time to develop our web-based resource to assist instructors and teachers who had adopted the textbook to convey its new updated material to students in the most user-friendly way. We hope the breakdown of material, chapter by chapter, will assist teachers and students to use the contents in stimulating and various ways - whether in seminars, tutorials or even in the classroom situation, to extend and develop learning and research.

Each chapter is broken down into the following parts:

A synopsis of chapter contents with bullet-point summaries

These summarize the main objectives of each chapter, what the reader is expected to understand at the end of it and identifies the key areas of interest, particularly highlighting any new material or approaches present in this edition.

Key-point chapter summaries

The authors summarize, with bullet points, the essence of the chapters' different sections so that readers can see at a glance the principles and processes at work in the section. This serves as a rapid aid to revision for examinations, essay or seminar work for the student, and allows the teacher or instructor to prepare structured lectures and assess the important issues in each chapter.

Essay titles and discussion questions

The essay titles are based on the material provided in the chapter and the reading associated with it. These questions allow the teacher to test their students' knowledge of the chapter and their ability to use the supporting bibliographic and web sources. There are also questions included that are more suitable for discussion in small groups.

Website addresses

In addition to the annotated websites included in the book, we have included further suggestions on where to obtain information relevant to each chapter. These addresses were correct at the time of going to press (January 2008) but readers must be aware that sites do disappear.

Case studies

Extended case studies supporting and linking to topics in the fourth edition of Fundamentals of the Physical Environment are included for the following chapters of the book. These are listed by book chapter number and case study title below:

1. The First 'Paradigm Shift' in Physical Geography in the Age of the Scottish Enlightenment

3. Atmospheric Composition

4. Use of Clouds as Indicators of the State of the Atmosphere

7. Tropical Cyclone Sidr (12-16 November 2007)

8. Urban Areas and Photochemical Smog

9. Snowball Earth

10. Tectonics and Landforms in the western USA

11. The Life and Death of Oceans

12. Morphotectonics of north-west England

13. Geomorphological development of north-west England

14. Aspects of the Rivern Severn Catchment in Wales and England

15. Glaciers - Whilst they Last!

16. Coastal Dune Systems of Wales

17. Climate Change and Human Security in Coastal Urban Areas

19. Soil Hydophobicity: the Ability of a Soil to Repel Water

20. Woodland History of the UK and Europe: Unresolvable Controversies?

22. Changes in Biodiversity in British Ecosystems due to land-use changes 1939 - 2050

23. Dinas Dinlle: Glaciers and the Iron Age

24. Biodiversity in Antarctica

25. Wildfires in California during August, September and October 2007

26. Water supply problems in Saudi Arabia

27. Paraguay, Conflicts of Conservation and Development

28. The Futures of Mediterranean Environments

Additonal resource material

Line drawings in the book are available as downloadable files which can be imported into powerpoint for teaching and learning purposes.

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