FIVE: AGRICULTURE & RURAL LAND-USE PATTERNS & PROCESSES

5.1       Introduction to Agriculture

  • Agricultural practices are influenced by the physical environment and climate conditions, such as the Mediterranean climate and tropical climates.
  • Intensive farming practices include market gardening, plantation agriculture, and mixed crop/livestock.
  • Extensive farming practices include shifting cultivation, nomadic herding, and ranching.

5.2       Settlement Patterns and Survey Methods

  • Specific agricultural practices shape different rural land-use patterns.
  • Rural settlement patterns are classified as clustered, dispersed, or linear.
  • Rural survey methods include metes and bounds, township and range and long lot.

5.3       Agricultural Origins and Diffusions

  • Early hearths of domestication of plants and animals arose in the Fertile Crescent and several other regions of the world, including the Indus River Valley, Southeast Asia, and Central America.
  • Patterns of diffusion, such as the Columbian Exchange and the agricultural revolutions, resulted in the global spread of various plants and animals.

5.4       The Second Agricultural Revolution

  • New technology and increased food production in the Second Agricultural Revolution led to better diets, longer life expectancies, and more people available for work in factories.

5.5       The Green Revolution

  • The Green Revolution was characterized in agricultural by the use of high-yield seeds, increased use of chemicals, and mechanized farming.
  • The Green Revolution had positive and negative consequences for both human populations and the environment.

5.6       Agricultural Production Regions

  • Agricultural production regions are defined by the extent to which they reflect subsistence or commercial practices (monocropping or monoculture).
  • Intensive and extensive farming practices are determined in part by land costs (bid-rent theory).

5.7       Spatial Organization of Agriculture

  • Large-scale commercial agricultural operations are replacing small family farms.
  • Complex commodity chains link production and consumption of agricultural products.
  • Technology has increased economies of scale in the agricultural sector and the carrying capacity of the land.

5.8       Von Thünen Model

  • Von Thunen’s model helps to explain rural land use by emphasizing the importance of transportation costs associated with distance from the market; however regions of speciality farming do not always conform to von Thunen’s concentric rings.

5.9       The Global System of Agriculture

  • Food and other agricultural products are part of a global supply chain.
  • Some countries have become highly dependent on one or more export commodities.
  • The main elements of global food distribution networks are affected by political relationships, infrastructure, and patterns of world trade.

5.10     Consequences of Agricultural Practices

  • Environmental effects of agricultural land use include pollution, land cover change, desertification, soil salinization, and conservation efforts.
  • Agricultural practices- including slash and burn, terraces, irrigation, deforestation, draining wetlands, shifting cultivation, and pastoral nomadism – alter the landscape.
  • Societal effects of agricultural practices include changing diets, role of women in agricultural production, and economic purpose.

5.11     Challenges of Contemporary Agriculture

  • Agricultural innovations such as biotechnology, genetically modified organisms, and aquaculture have been accompanied by debates over sustainability, soil and water usage, reduction in biodiversity, and extensive fertilizer and pesticide use.
  • Patterns of food production and consumption are influenced by movements relating to individual food choice, such as urban farming, community-supported agriculture (CSA), organic farming, value-added specialty crops, fair trade, local-food movements, and dietary shifts.
  • Challenges of feeding a global population include lack of food access, as in cases of food insecurity and food deserts; problems with distribution systems; adverse weather; and land use lost to suburbanization.
  • The location of food-processing facilities and markets, economies of scale, distribution systems, and government policies all have economic effects on food-production practices.

5.12     Women in Agriculture

  • The role of females in food production, distribution, and consumption varies in many places depending on the type of production involved.

Favorite Specific Resources for this Unit (links in progress):

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