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):
- Geography of Quinoa
- National Geographic: Our Dwindling Food Variety
- NYTimes: Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?
- Where is my Milk From?
- Labeling Genetically Modified Foods
- The connection between farmer’s markets and obesity rates
- The Geography of Hunger and Food Insecurity
- “Eat“–A video of foods from around the world
- From “Field to Fork,” 50% of food is wasted
- Grist: China consumes twice as much meat as the U.S.
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