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Agriculture and Rural Land Use

Agriculture and Rural Land Use

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Agriculture and Rural Land Use

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  1. Agriculture and Rural Land Use

  2. Development and Diffusion of Agriculture • Defining Agriculture • The growing of plants or raising of animals, in order to produce food or sustenance for sale at the marketplace • Another definition: • Deliberate modification of Earth’s surface through cultivation of plants and rearing of animals to obtain sustenance or economic gain • Prior to the domestication of plants, humans were primarily nomadic hunters and gatherers • Today, farms provide humans with the ability to stay stationary and build cities • Today less than 250,000 people in the world are hunters and gatherers • Less than 0.005% of world’s pop • Subsistence vs. Commercial Farming • Subsistence • When a farmer can only grow enough food to feed his/her own family • Often in LDCs • 97% of world’s farmers live in LDCs • Commercial • When farmers grow food to be sold in groceries and markets, not just to be eaten by the farmers themselves • Often in MDCs • Increasing worldwide

  3. Origins of Agriculture • Geographers believed that humans evolved from hunter and gatherers into stationary farmers • Agricultural innovation occurred in and diffused from multiple hearths • Argued that humans first learned to grow plants in Southeast Asia through vegetative planting • Knowledge diffused North and East • Other vegetative hearths are believed to have emerged through innovation in other places

  4. Origins of Agriculture • First Agricultural Revolution • Saw human development of seed agriculture and the use of animals in the farming process about 12,000 years ago • Growth of seed crops replaced hunter/gatherer lifestyle • Humans able to stay in one place, grow population, and start to build communities • Seed planting yields more crops than vegetative planting • Increased the carrying capacity for earth • Believed to have occur independently in several hearths

  5. Seed Agricultural Hearths

  6. The Second Agricultural Revolution • After the fall of Rome, farming grew into a feudal village structure • During Middle Ages, most farmers worked their lands to feed themselves and their family in an open-lot system • One in which there was one large plot of community farmland that all villagers farmed to produce a crop to eat • As capitalism grew, feudalism diminished and villages enclosed their farmland • Enclosures gave individual farmers their own plots of farmland • Huge shift in agriculture

  7. The Second Agricultural Revolution • Geographers still debate where and when the Second Agricultural Revolution began • All agree its most influential phase coincided with Industrial Revolution • Growing industrial economy and the decline of feudal villages in the 1600s and 1700s caused massive urban migration • This wave caused a great jump in demand for food to be shipped to cities for workers • With new demand came new innovations in farming and transportation technology • Better collars for oxen, use of horse on the farm • New fertilizers, field drainage and irrigation systems, and storage systems • Higher farm outputs also encouraged the population boom that accompanied the Industrial Revolution

  8. Subsistence vs. Commercial Farming • Five principal features distinguish commercial agriculture from subsistence agriculture • Purpose of farming • Subsistence= for consumption • Commercial= for sale • % of farmers in the labor force • Subsistence = 50% + • Commercial= 5% • 2% in North America • Use of machinery • Subsistence= more farmers, use more manual labor/power and tools • Commercial= small # of farmers, more machines, more new technology • Farm size • Subsistence= small farms • Commercial= large farms, 449 acres • Relationship to farming to other businesses • Subsistence= none • commercial= closely related to other businesses, called Agribusiness

  9. Types of Subsistence Farming • Shifting Cultivation • Slash-and-Burn • Intensive • Pastoralism

  10. Shifting Cultivation • Definition • Subsistence farmers rotate the fields they cultivate in order to let the soil replenish its nutrients • Different than crop rotation because farmer does not change crop type • Farming same crop repeatedly on the same plot of land leaches the soil of nutrients that are needed for health crops • Where is it found? • Often in tropical zones • Especially rain forest in Africa, the Amazon River basin in South America, and throughout Southeast Asia • Topsoil is thin, need to change plot of land frequently • The primary cause of poor soil quality in these regions is the heavy tropical rains that wash away soil nutrients

  11. Shifting Cultivation • Slash-and-burn farming a common way that farmers prepare a new plot of land for farming • Definition • A form subsistence agriculture in which the land is cleared by cutting (or slashing) the existing plants on the land, then burning the rest to create a cleared plot of new farmland • Called swidden • Method is a form of extensive subsistence agriculture • Uses a large amount of labor • Slash-and-burn is not dependent on advanced technology • Is dependent on human labor and extensive acreage for crops • Little to no fertilizer used • Often swidden farmers will mix different seeds on the same plot of farmland • Called intertillage • Slash-and-burn farming has caused environmental problems in some areas • Rising population pressure • Can only use land for 3 years or less

  12. Shifting Cultivation Crops • Southeast Asia • Upland rice • South America • Maize • Manioc (cassava) • Africa • Millet • Sorghum • Also grown in some regions: • Yams, sugarcane, plantain, and vegetables • Traditionally land owned by village not individuals • Changing in South America • Occupies 1/4th of world’s land area • Less than 5% engage in • Requires a LOT of land

  13. Shifting Cultivation • Shifting cultivation is being replaced by more money-making farming practices, like cattle-ranching, logging, and production of cash crops to sell in the global marketplace • Instead of the rotating, regenerative methods of shifting cultivation, more destructive forms are being used • Such as permanent clearing of the rain forests by commercial farming companies • Argument whether shifting cultivation is good for LDCs • Supporters argue it is the most environmentally friendly for tropical regions • Critics argue LDCs need to shift to more sophisticated techniques that yield more crops per acre

  14. Pastoralism (Nomadism) • Definition • Form of subsistence agriculture involving the breeding and herding of animals to produce food, shelter, and clothing for survival • pastoral refers to sheepherding • Usually practiced in climates with very limited, if any, arable land, such as grasslands, deserts, and steppes • Mongolia, North Africa, Middle East, Central Asia and Central/southern Africa • 15 million people, occupy 20% of earth’s land area • Can be sedentary or nomadic • Nomadic pastoralists often practice transhumance • Movement of animal herds to cooler highland areas in the summer and lowland areas in the winter • Like other subsistence agriculture, Pastoralism is declining worldwide • Partly a victim to modern technology • Nomads used to play important role in communications

  15. Pastoralism • Characteristics of Pastoral Nomads • Depend on animal, not crops for survival • Consume mostly grain • Do not slaughter animals • Size of herd = power/prestige • Often women/children plant limited crops at fixed location • Choice of animals • Camels • Well suited to arid climates • Can carry heavy loads • Sheep • Relatively slow moving • Affected by climatic changes • Require more water, picky eaters • Goats • Need more water than camels • Tough, agile • Can virtually survive on any vegetation • Movements of Pastoral Nomads • Do not wander randomly • Strong sense of territoriality • Goal is to control enough land for animals to forage and get water • Selections of routes based on history and weather

  16. Intensive Subsistence Farming • Definition • When a farmer cultivates a small amount of land very efficiently to produce food for the farmer’s family to eat • Usually found in fertile areas that are highly populated • China, India, and Southeast Asia • Make the most of their small plot of land to feed their families, often showing ingenuity in their techniques • = LOTS OF MANUAL LABOR • Terrace-farming in Southeast Asia • Rice is the dominant intensive subsistence agriculture crop in areas such as South China, India, Bangladesh, and Southeast Asia where summer rainfall is abundant • Areas to cold for rice, grains are grown • Such as wheat, corn, and millet • Often intensive farmers practice double-cropping • Planting and harvesting a crop on a field more than once a year • Example: Growing corn in one season and wheat in another

  17. Intensive Subsistence with Wet Rice Dominant • Wet rice • Definition • Refers to the practice of planting rice on dry land in a nursery and then moving seedlings to a flooded field to promote growth • Occupies small % of Asia’s agricultural land • Region’s most important source of food • Time-consuming and done by hand • Done best in flat fields • River deltas/valleys • Also terraces • Some places “double-crop” • Grow rice in summer when rainy • Grow grains in winter • Steps to growing rice: • Farmer prepares field for planting • Uses plow with water buffalo • Plowed land then flooded with water • Too much or too little= disaster • Seedlings then transplanted from dry-land to paddy (or sawah) • Plants harvested by hand

  18. Intensive with Wet Rice Not Dominant • Climate prevents rice from being grown throughout Asia • Wheat most important crop after rice • Other grains include • Barley • Millet • Oats • Corn • Soybeans • sorghum • Land still used intensively and worked primarily by human power • Some assistance with animals

  19. Mediterranean Agriculture • Definition • Primarily associated with the region near the Mediterranean Sea and places with climates that have hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters • CA, Chile, southern South Africa, and South Australia • Mediterranean farming involves wheat, barley, vine and tree corps, and grazing for sheep and goats • Olives, grapes, and figs are staple tree crops on Mediterranean farms • Mediterranean agriculture can be either extensive or intensive, depending on the crop • Wheat= extensive • Olives= intensive • Mediterranean farming is both subsistence and commercial depending on where it is practiced