Nature and Scope of Physical Geography

What is the Scope and Subject Matter of Geography? What are the Features of Physical Geography? What are the 5 Branches of Physical Geography?

Geography, Nature, Wiki

Geography as a subject is a favorite for many in their school days. This is about studying the environment and the world. There are so many concepts under the umbrella of geography that are new and keep updating every now and then. An expert in this specific field who studies the features and elements of the earth and its atmosphere along with the relationship between humankind and nature is called a geographer. But what really is geography and the scope of physical geography? Let’s find out the importance of physical geography, the features of physical geography, and the different scopes of geography. These are some of the questions we would be looking at.

1. What is the Scope and Subject Matter of Geography?

Geography is something that we have been learning and a word you are very familiar with. This deals with the study of people and the environment in which they are living. This includes the basic needs required for the survival of humans, such as agriculture, trade, manufacturing, and construction, among others, which have been part of human life since time immemorial. The scope of physical geography also, to an extent, relates to the cultures, religions, occupations, etc. (See What is the importance of geography?)

2. What are the Different Scopes of Geography?

There is no short and simple answer to the different scopes of geography. Some are as follows:

  • This consists of the size, movement, and shape of the surface of the earth. The surface keeps changing every now and then, even though you are not aware of the movements.
  • The landforms, climate, and vegetation are also included in the geography of the world. For instance, the flora and fauna, types of soil, and atmosphere change as per geography.

3. Is there a Scope of Physical Geography?

The scope of physical geography is defined as the study of physical features of the world such as plains, hills, and mountains, along with other relief features. The world has been changing since it was formed and will do so for as long as it lasts. The changes are sometimes so slight that you may never know of them, such as when tectonic plates move, you do not feel the movement. On the other hand, when there is a tsunami, an earthquake, or a natural disaster, you get to know them. (See What are physical features in geography?)

4. What is Physical Geography and Scope of Physical Geography?

The study of the natural phenomena of the environment, including the ecosystems, atmosphere, landforms, and oceans, among other elements, is what physical geography is defined by. The scope of physical geography is to study and understand the earth’s surface and the many features that are included within it. A few of these are climate and atmospheric pressure, natural disasters, geological systems, flora, and fauna. The subject matter of geography is considered the human and physical phenomena that make up Earth’s environment. Must read 10 Elements of Weather.

5. What is Importance of Physical Geography?

Nature and Scope of Physical Geography

You already know the different scopes of geography. Let’s see the importance of physical geography and why you should be aware of it. This is something that will help you understand the importance of the planet you are living on.

  • The components of Earth, which consist of the lithosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere, fall under physical geography. To a great extent, this has an influence on the lifestyles of human beings.
  • It helps us learn about the surface of the Earth from the beginning of the world to how and what it is today. It gives an understanding of evolution through millions of years.
  • It makes a link between the environment and human beings, how both change over time to adapt to each other and make the place a better and more comfortable place to live in.
  • This helps in providing information about the natural resources which are so useful to human beings today and also about certain natural phenomena, including natural hazards, the identification of which early would help get through them well.

6. What is Nature of Physical Geography?

Physical geography is the study related to the environment and the surface of the planet, which includes the relationship between humans and how we adjust to the environment or modify it to make our lives comfortable. The place was chosen to make architecture so that people could live. The soil was chosen to grow the essentials to feed people and the use of irrigation and drainage in town planning is all part of this discipline. The natural physical features of the surface keep changing; they are not static. There are reasons why there is a population near the equator and no human life on the poles. This is an example of the adjustments and living conditions required to exist. 

7. What are the Features of Physical Geography?

The features of physical geography are many, but some to be mentioned are as follows:

  • There are different landforms which include mountains, hills, valleys, plateaus, plains, deserts, and glaciers, which are natural physical features formed as a result of different forces on the surface of the Earth.
  • Different types of soil are found all over the globe, which differ according to the climatic conditions and the location of the specific areas, which makes them unique to the area.
  • Botanical and biological geography is another feature of physical geography that deals with the flora and fauna. This consists of the plants, animals, organisms, and microorganisms among other living beings in the environment and how they are dependent on each other.

8. What are the 5 Branches of Physical Geography?

The 5 branches of physical geography well known to us are:

  • Geomorphology: This gives you a description of how the world has evolved, originated, and distributed into what it is today. This can be considered a mix of geology and geography.
  • Climatology: The study of the phenomenon of climate and finding the answer to why and how climate change and what influences human activities and the natural environment have on the planet is climatology.
  • Mathematical geography: A very important branch of physical geography that looks into the figures and motions of Earth. This also consists of the measurements, the working of tides and seasons, and representations of maps and charts in it.
  • Seismology: The part of a study that scientifically looks into earthquakes and their effects, causes, investigation of the process, and distribution. This focuses on the seismic waves present around the tectonic plates, the forceful movement of which creates earthquakes.
  • Geography of planning: This branch of physical geography includes town planning, country planning, and regional planning in specific areas. This includes the basic amenities such as the water and drainage systems, and in the rural areas the irrigation and flood protection systems.

9. What is the Scope of Human Geography?

The relationship between the environment created by humans and the physical environment is what is defined as human geography. This deals with how human activities affect and are influenced by the Earth’s surface. The scope of human geography is as follows:

  • It helps you know about the different aspects of the population, including their growth, density, and distribution around the world.
  • This gives an understanding of how people migrated in the past, what led them to do so, and how the scattered population came into being.
  • It talks about the different traditions and cultures across the globe and how this influences the way the world works and the relationships people have with the environment. 
  • Another scope of human geography is about the natural resources that are used by us human beings. These are things that the planet produces, and we are the consumers of them.

10. What are the Scopes and Concepts of Physical and Human Geography?

Physical and human geography are branches of geography that go hand in hand. While physical geography is concerned with the surface and environment of the planet, human geography looks more closely into the relationship between humans and their environment and how both function together. The scope of physical geography looks into the tangible parts of the world, including its natural features.

Plains, soil, hills, and natural resources: all of these come under physical geography and are sources that we use. Human geography, on the other hand, is the relationship of physical geography with human beings, and this has with it the way humans have grown and adjusted to meet their needs in the world, from the construction of homes to the development of technology. 

The world is a big place, and to know about it, you need to study geography. This article gave answers to certain questions which wandered around geography, its nature, and scope. Among others, the questions discussed were about the scope of physical geography, the importance of physical geography, and the features of physical geography. (Also read What does Centrifugal mean in Human Geography?)

About the author
Alex Williams is a PhD student in urban studies and planning. He is broadly interested in the historical geographies of capital, the geopolitical economy of urbanization, environmental and imperial history, critical urban theory, and spatial dialectics.

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