Process diagrams for IELTS writing task 1 can be difficult. Sometimes you look at the diagram and become overwhelmed by information. There can be so many parts that it is hard to see how they all fit together. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to make it easier to understand and write about process diagrams.

Today we’re going to look at one that is related to the IELTS topic of environment. This is a really common topic in most parts of the IELTS exam, so you should make yourself familiar with the vocabulary.


Here is the question:

You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

The flow chart illustrates the consequences of deforestation. 

Summarize the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

You should write at least 150 words.

and the diagram you should describe:

A difficult IELTS flow chartUnderstand the Diagram

Before you even think about writing anything, you need to understand the process diagram. This means taking some time to look carefully and analyze its various parts. First, assess where the beginning and end are. In this case, there is only one beginning (clear cutting of forests) and two possible endings (flooding, less biodiversity).

You also need to think about the overall idea. For this, you can look at the question – “the consequences of deforestation”. You can see that the two “endings” are actually consequences, with all the boxes in between leading to either one or the other.

Planning your Essay

Ok… so how do you actually write about something this complicated? Well, you have already established the main idea, the beginning, and the end. That’s important. Now you simply divide the rest into groups. There are four columns, but three end up going to the result, “less biodiversity” and one leads to “flooding,” so perhaps that is the best way to group them.

Remember that you don’t need to talk about everything in the chart. Don’t describe each stage in detail. Just pick what you think are the most important ones. Also, you don’t need an expert grasp of science or environmental vocabulary. As you can see, there are already many key verbs included in the text.

Sample Essay

Here is one way to answer the question:

The flow chart shows what happens after too many trees have been cut down in a forest or jungle. There are four immediate results of this deforestation; however, they lead to two main consequences, which are flooding and a loss of biodiversity in the region.

One of the immediate results of forests being clear cut is that the heavy logging machinery that is used compresses the soil, thus causing the ground to become hard and developing a “baked” texture. When it rains, instead of soaking into the ground, water simply runs off. This causes flooding, which is the first of the two main negative outcomes.

Other results of clear cutting are that fewer roots are left to hold the top soil in place, causing erosion. There is also an increased risk of forest fire, which causes waste wood and thus a loss of the organisms that would otherwise feed upon it. Additionally, with fewer plants and trees, there is less moisture returned to the air, resulting in less precipitation and therefore more drought in the area. All of this leads to a degradation of vegetation and, as a result, less biodiversity.