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Agriculture and Rural Land Use

Agriculture and Rural Land Use. 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:

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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

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