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The Agricultural World

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1 The Agricultural World
The Human Matrix Chapter 3


3 Introduction Importance of agriculture
All humans depend on agriculture for food Urban-industrial societies depend on the base of food surplus generated by farmers and herders Without agriculture there could be no cities, universities, factories, or offices

4 Introduction Agriculture—the principal enterprise of humankind through most of recorded history Today remains the most important economic activity in the world Employs 45 percent of the working population In some parts of Asia and Africa, over 80 percent of labor force is engaged in agriculture

5 Agricultural regions Formal agricultural regions Shifting cultivation
Peoples living in different environments develop new farming methods Numerous spatial variations have been created Shifting cultivation Essentially a land rotation system Where it is practiced Tropical lowlands and hills in the Americas Africa Southeast Asia Indonesia

6 Formal agricultural regions

7 Formal agricultural regions

8 Agricultural regions Shifting cultivation – how it is practiced
Small patches of land are cleared by chopping vegetation and girdling trees When vegetation has dried, it is burned These techniques give shifting agriculture the name “slash-and-burn” With digging sticks or hoes, farmers plant a variety of crops in the clearings

9 Agricultural regions How it is practiced
Intertillage—the practice of planting taller, stronger crops to shelter lower, fragile ones from tropical downpours Intertillage reveals a learning acquired over many centuries Little tending of the plants is necessary until harvest time No fertilizer is applied to the fields The same clearings may be planted for four or five years until the soil loses it fertility New fields are prepared and old fields may be abandoned for 10 to 20 years

10 Amazon Basin

11 Agricultural regions Subsistence agriculture—involves food production mainly for the family and local community rather than for market Farmers keep few if any livestock, often relying on hunting and fishing for much of their food supply Has proved an efficient adaptive strategy Slash-and-burn farming may return more calories of food for the calories spent than modern mechanized agriculture Has achieved sustainability for millennia in the absence of a population explosion

12 Agricultural regions How slash-and-burn farming is being attacked by Western agricultural “experts” People being forced off the land by rural development schemes Improved health conditions have caused population growth beyond the size supportable by this kind of farming People have passed to the second stage of the demographic transformation causing land fallow periods to be shortened Environmental deterioration follows

13 Shifting Cultivation - Uganda
This “slash-and’burn” plot is in the Ruwenzoris (Mountains of the Moon). A burgeoning population does not permit a suitable fallow period; crop yields are poor and the forest never recovers

14 Shifting Cultivation - Uganda
Consequently, shifting cultivation by too many people is responsible for tropical rainforest destruction over a vast area. Intertillage is practiced with bananas, taro, cassava, beans and sorghum being planted in the same field. While some sugarcane and coffee are grown for sale, this is primarily subsistence agriculture.

15 Agricultural regions Distinctive type of subsistence farming
Where practiced Humid tropical and subtropical parts of Asia Monsoon coasts of India Hills of southeastern China Warmer parts of Japan

16 Paddy rice farming Tiny, mud-diked, flooded rice fields, many perched on terraced hillsides Paddies must be drained and rebuilt each year Forms the basis of “vegetable civilizations”—almost all caloric intake is of plant origin

17 Bali, Indonesia

18 Paddy rice farming Many paddy farmers raise a cash crop for market Tea
Sugar cane Mulberry bushes for silkworm production Fiber crop jute Asian farmers also raise pigs, cattle, and poultry Food fish are maintained in irrigation reservoirs in Asia

19 Paddy rice farming Draft animals—water buffalo—used more by farmers in India Japanese have mechanized paddy rice farming

20 Paddy rice farming Most paddy rice farms outside Communist area of Asia are tiny Three acre plot is considered adequate to support a farm family Irrigated rice provides a large output of food per unit of land Small patches must be intensively tilled to harvest enough food Small rice sprouts carefully transplanted by hand from seed beds to paddy Double-cropping—harvest same parcel of land two or three times each year Apply large amounts of organic fertilizer Per-acre yields exceed those of American agriculture

21 Paddy Rice Farming Suzhou, China
This woman is harvesting rice seedlings to be transplanted into the paddy behind her. Planting seeds closely in small seed beds allows plant growth to begin while another crop of seedlings is ripening in the larger paddy

22 Paddy Rice Farming Suzhou, China
Once that crop is harvested, the paddies are prepared for a new planting of the partly developed seedlings. With this method, double-cropping – two or three crops a year (depending on the length of the growing season) – are harvested.

23 Paddy rice farming Green Revolution
Achieved by introducing hybrid rice during the last half of the twentieth century Chemical fertilizers introduced Heightened productivity achieved

24 Peasant grain, root, and livestock farming
Where practiced The colder, drier Asiatic farming regions River valleys of the Middle East Parts of Europe and Africa Mountain highlands of Latin America and New Guinea


26 Peasant grain, root, and livestock farming
A system based on bread grains, root crops, and herd livestock Dominant grain crops some of which are consumed by the farmers Wheat Barley Sorghum Millet Oats Maize

27 Peasant grain, root, and livestock farming
Many farmers raise cash crops Cotton Flax Hemp Coffee Tobacco

28 Peasant grain, root, and livestock farming
Livestock raised and their usage Cattle, pigs, sheep In South America they raise llamas and alpacas Livestock provide milk, meat, and wool Some livestock also pull the plow, serve as beasts of burden, and provide fertilizer for the fields Areas such as Middle East also use irrigation

29 Mediterranean agriculture
A distinctive type of agriculture took shape in ancient times In a few areas this traditional subsistence system survives intact today Based on wheat and barley cultivation in the rainy season Drought-resistant vine and tree crops—grapes, olives, and figs Livestock herding—sheep and goats Do not integrate stock raising with crop cultivation

30 Crete

31 Mediterranean agriculture
Rarely raise feed, collect animal manure, or keep draft animals Communal herds pastured on rocky mountain slopes No fertilizer use-therefore grain fields lie fallow every other year Farmers can reap nearly all of life’s necessities Wool and leather for clothing Bread, beverages, fruit, milk, cheese, and meat

32 Mediterranean agriculture
Changed about 1850 when commercialization and specialization of farming replaced the traditional diversified system Farmers began using irrigation in a major way Led to the expansion of crops such as citrus fruits Better described as market gardening

33 Nomadic herding Practiced particularly in the deserts, steppes, and savannas of Africa, Arabia, and the interior of Eurasia Graze cattle, sheep, goats, and camels Main characteristic is the continued movement of people and their livestock in search of food for the livestock Some migrate from lowlands in winter to mountains in summer Some shift from desert areas in winter to adjacent semiarid plains in summer

34 Nomadic Herding - Niger
These herds belong to the Taureg, nomadic herders of Africa’s Sahara and Sahel. Government programs to dig boreholes (wells) has led to environmental modification. As animals and human populations increase, overgrazing and deforestation intensify with desertification the end result. In places, animals have trampled and denuded ground for up to six miles around a borehole. Many Taureg are giving up this way of life to work in Algeria’s oilfields

35 Nomadic herding Nomads in Sub-Saharan Africa are the only ones who depend mainly on cattle Nomads living in the tundras of northern Eurasia raise reindeer The few material possessions of the nomads must be portable, including housing Livestock provides most all of life’s necessities Some necessities are obtained by bartering with sedentary farmers Until almost the modem age, nomads presented a periodic military threat

36 Kurdistan

37 Nomadic herding Today, nomadic herding is almost everywhere in decline
National governments have established policies encouraging nomads to become sedentary This encouragement was started in the nineteenth century by British and French colonial administrators in North Africa Russia adopted such a policy and had considerable success Many nomads are voluntarily abandoning traditional life to seek jobs in urban areas or in Middle Eastern oil fields Severe droughts in Sub-Saharan Africa has caused many to abandon nomadism Today, nomadism survives mainly in remote areas, and may soon completely vanish

38 Plantation agriculture
A commercial agricultural system imposed on the native types of subsistence agriculture in certain tropical and subtropical areas Plantation—a huge land-holding devoted to the efficient, large-scale, specialized production of one tropical or subtropical crop for market

39 Plantation agriculture
“Welcome to Freehold Plantation: a workplace where labor harmony reigns, in mutual respect and understanding, we united workers produce and export quality goods in peace and harmony.”

40 Plantation agriculture
The plantation system Relies on large amounts of hand labor Originated in the 1400s on Portuguese-owned islands of the coast of tropical West Africa Today, the greatest concentration is in the American tropics Most plantations lie on or near seacoasts and shipping lanes Produce is carried to non-tropical lands—Europe, United States, and Japan

41 Plantation agriculture
Plantation workers Most live on the plantation Rigid social and economic segregation of labor and management Two-class society—wealthy and the poor In the past—as in the antebellum southern United States—slaves were relied on to provide the labor Today tension between labor and management is not uncommon Because of the necessary capital investment, corporations or governments are usually owners of plantations Societal ills of the system remain far from cured

42 Tea plantation, Papua New Guinea

43 Plantation agriculture
Expansion of the system Provided the base for European and American economic expansion into tropical Asia, Africa, and Latin America Maximized the production of luxury crops Sugar cane Bananas Coconuts Spices Tea and coffee Cacao Tobacco

44 Plantation agriculture
Cotton, sisal, jute, hemp, and other fiber crops were required by Western textile factories from plantation areas Profits from plantations were usually exported to Europe and North America impoverishing the colonial lands where plantations were developed Crop specialization Coffee dominates the upland plantations of tropical America Tea is mainly confined to hill slopes of India and Sri Lanka Today, coffee is the economic lifeblood of about 40 developing countries Sugar cane and bananas are major lowland crops of tropical America

45 Plantation agriculture
Most crops are partially processed before shipping to distant markets Neo-plantation—mechanized plantations Require less labor, cause underemployment and displacement of local people People flock to urban centers Contribute to massive growth of cities in developing countries

46 Plantation Agriculture - Malaysia
This rubber estate (plantation) exports rubber through Singapore. Reflective of Malaysia’s plural society, this Chinese owned estate is Indian managed with a Malay and Japanese (dating to World War II occupation) labor force.

47 Plantation Agriculture - Malaysia
By 1877, Heva braziliensis had diffused from Brazil via England into Singapore. Ruber soon boomed in Malaya and indentured laborers were brought from India. By 1919, Malay supplied half the world’s rubber. Environmental influence is significant because rubber can only grow in the tropics.

48 Plantation Agriculture - Malaysia
Capital is important because there is a period of years before the newly planted trees yield any latex. Labor is essential because trees must be tapped and latex collected daily to be processed in an on-site factory.

49 Market gardening Also known as truck farming
Located in developed countries Specialize in intensively cultivated nontropical fruits, vegetables, and vines Raise no livestock Each district concentrates on a single product Wine, table grapes, raisins Oranges, apples Lettuce, or potatoes

50 Market gardening Entire farm output is raised for sale rather than consumption on the farm Many participate in cooperative marketing arrangements Many depend on seasonal farm laborers Appear in most industrialized countries and are often near major urban centers In the United States—lie in broken belt from California eastward through the Gulf and Atlantic coast states

51 Commercial livestock fattening
Farmers raise and fatten cattle and hogs for slaughter One of the most developed fattening areas is the Corn Belt of the Midwestern United States—Farmers raise maize and soybeans as feed In Europe, feed crops are more commonly oats and potatoes Smaller zones of commercial livestock fattening also appears in southern Brazil and South Africa Crop and animal raising is combined on the same farm


53 Commercial livestock fattening
Some geographers call this type of agriculture: mixed crop and livestock farming Specialization Farmers breed many of the animals they fatten, especially hogs Other farmers concentrate on preparing cattle and hogs for market In factory-like feedlots, farmers raise imported cattle and hogs on purchased feed Such feedlots are most common in the western and southern United States

54 Commercial livestock fattening
The question of feedlot nutritional efficiency In the 1900s world grain production rose much faster than did world population growth Cereals provide most of the protein intake of the world’s people At least one-half of America’s harvested agricultural land is planted with feed crops for livestock Over 70 percent of America’s grain crop is used to feed livestock

55 Commercial livestock fattening
The question of feedlot nutritional efficiency A cow must eat 21 pounds of grain to produce one pound of edible protein Protein lost through conversion from plant to meat could make up almost all the world’s present protein deficiency Today, food that feeds Americans would feed 1.5 billion at the consumption level of China Poorer countries such as Costa Rica and Brazil are destroying rain forests to fatten beef for America’s fast-food restaurants

56 Commercial grain farming
Another market-oriented type of agriculture Farmers grow wheat or, less frequently, rice or corn Wheat belts Stretch through Australia America’s Great Plains region The steppes of Ukraine The pampas of Argentina

57 Commercial grain farming
Together, the United States, Canada, Argentina, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine produce 35 percent of the world’s wheat Large family farms of 1000 acres or more in the American Great Plains Giant collective farms Rice farms cover large areas of the Texas-Louisiana coastal plain and lowlands in Arkansas and California Commercial rice farmers sow grain from airplanes


59 Commercial grain farming
Suitcase farming Innovation in the wheat belt of the northern Great Plains People who own and operate these farms do not live on the land People own several suitcase farms, south-to-north through the plains states Keep fleets of farm machinery, which they send north with crews to plant, fertilize, and harvest the wheat

60 Commercial grain farming
Agribusinesses Highly mechanized, absentee-owned, large-scale operations Rapidly replacing the traditional American family farm United States governmental policies consistently favor agribusiness interests Family farm no longer of much consequence, especially in the grain lands

61 Commercial Grain Farming Austria
As in North America, agriculture in much of Western Europe is really agribusiness. This includes the use of machines for plowing, seeding and harvesting; fertilizers and pesticides; and, hybrid seeds. This machine will both harvest and thresh the wheat.

62 Commercial dairying In the large dairy belts, keeping dairy cows depends on large-scale use of pastures Northern United States from New England to the upper Midwest Western and northern Europe Southeastern Australia and northern New Zealand In colder areas, some acreage must be devoted to winter feed crops—hay Regionally, dairy products differ depending on closeness to markets If near large urban areas milk, which is more perishable, is usually produced New Zealanders, remote from world markets, produce butter

63 Commercial dairying Feedlot system
Especially common in the southern United States Often situated on the suburban fringes of large cities Essentially factory farms, buying feed and livestock replacements Have larger number of cows than family-operated dairy farms Rely on hired laborers Highly profitable representing another stage in agribusiness and family farm decline

64 Livestock ranching How livestock-raising differs from nomadic herding
Livestock ranchers have fixed places of residence Operate as individuals rather than within a tribal organization Ranchers raise livestock for market on a large scale not for subsistence Typically of European ancestry rather than being an indigenous people Faced with the advance of farmers, nomadic herders have fallen back to areas climatically too harsh for crop raising

65 Livestock ranching Raise only cattle and sheep in large numbers
Where ranchers specialize in cattle raising United States and Canada Tropical and subtropical Latin America, and warmer parts of Australia Mid-latitude ranchers in the Southern Hemisphere specialize in sheep Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Argentina produce 70 percent of world’s export wool Sheep outnumber people 8 to 1 in Australia, and 16 to 1 in New Zealand

66 Urban Agriculture Practiced by migrants to cities in developing countries Consist of tiny plots of land Can produce enough to feed a family—vegetables, fruit, meat, and milk May produce a surplus to sell

67 Urban Agriculture In China now provides 90 percent or more of all vegetables consumed in cities Nairobi and Kampala, Africa produce 20 percent of food from city lands Many inhabitants of Sarajevo in Bosnia survived conflict because of urban agriculture Cities in Russia derive much food from urban agriculture

68 Urban Agriculture Nonagricultural areas
Typically lie in areas of extreme climate Often inhabited by hunting and gathering groups Before agriculture all people lived as hunters and gatherers Today, less than one percent live this way In most groups a division of labor by gender occurs Males do most of the hunting and fishing Females gather food from wild plants Most groups are unspecialized and rely upon a great variety of animals and plants

69 Agricultural diffusion
The origin and diffusion of plant domestication Agriculture apparently began with plant domestication Domesticated plant—one deliberately planted, protected, and cared for by humans Genetically distinct from wild ancestors because of deliberate improvement through selective breeding Tend to be larger than wild species, bearing larger, more abundant crops For example—wild Indian maize grew on a cob only 0.75 inches long

70 Agricultural diffusion
Plant domestication and improvement constituted a process, not an event Began because of close association between humans and natural vegetation over a period of hundreds or even thousands of years Useful plants were protected by humans, which led to deliberate planting

71 Agricultural diffusion
Cultural geographer Carl Johannessen suggest the domestication process can still be observed today Study of current techniques used by native subsistence farmers will allow insight into methods used by the first prehistoric farmers Two steps normally needed to develop and improve plant varieties Selection of seeds or shoots only from superior plants Genetic isolation from inferior plants to prevent cross-pollination

72 Agricultural diffusion
Example of the pejibaye palm in Costa Rica Cultivators choose fresh fruit seed from superior trees Superior seed stocks are built up gradually over the years Elderly farmers generally have the best selections Seeds are shared freely within family and clan groups Speedy diffusion follows seed sharing

73 Agricultural diffusion
One Indian tribe of shifting cultivators raised 14 varieties of maize, each in a field separated by intervening forest to preserve genetic isolation Carl Sauer Most experts believe repeated domestication occurred at different times and locations

74 Agricultural diffusion
Carl Sauer’s beliefs on domestication Domestication probably did not develop in response to hunger Starving people must spend every waking hour searching for food Started by people who had enough food to remain settled in one place Did not occur in grasslands or river floodplains because of thick sod and periodic flooding Must have started in regions where many different kinds of wild plants grew Started in hilly district areas, where climates change with differing sun exposure and altitude

75 Agricultural diffusion
Most geographers now believe agriculture arose in at least three regions of great biodiversity The Fertile Crescent located in the Middle East Bread grains, grapes, apples, olives; and many others Oldest archaeological evidence of crop-domestication—10,000BP Diffused to Central Africa creating a secondary center of domestication adding such crops as sorghum, peanuts, yams, coffee, and okra

76 Great biodiversity

77 Agricultural diffusion
Second great center developed in Southeast Asia Possibly included land now covered by shallow seas Rice, citrus, taro, bananas, and sugarcane, plus others Stimulus diffusion yielded a secondary center—northeastern China

78 Great biodiversity

79 Agricultural diffusion
Mesoamerica—the third great region of domestication Started about 5,000BP Independent invention, not started by diffusion Maize, tomatoes, chili peppers, and squash, among many others Stimulus diffusion produced a secondary center in northwestern South America, from which came the white potato and manioc

80 Great biodiversity

81 Agricultural diffusion
American Indian crops were far superior in nutritional value than those of the two earlier eastern regions of domestication Widespread association of female deities with agriculture suggests women first worked the land

82 Agricultural diffusion
Diffusion of domesticated plants did not end in antiquity Crop farming reached its present extent within the last 100 years Example-lemons, oranges, grapes, and date palms were taken to California by Spanish missionaries during the eighteenth century Introduction of European crops to the Americas, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa that came with the mass emigration of European farmers Even more important diffusion of American Indian crops to the Eastern Hemisphere

83 Agricultural diffusion
The origin and diffusion of animal domestication Domesticated animal—one dependent on people for food and shelter Differs from wild species in physical appearance and behavior Result of controlled breeding and daily contact with humans Apparently occurred later (with the exception of the dog) than did the first planting of crops People may have first domesticated cattle and some birds for religious reasons

84 Agricultural diffusion
The pig and the dog may have attached themselves to human settlements to feast on garbage Farmers of the southern Asian crop hearth and American Indians did not excel at animal domestication Asians did have some poultry American Indians had the llama, alpaca, guinea pig, and the turkey

85 Agricultural diffusion
Farmers of the Fertile Crescent deserve credit for the first great animal domestications—notably the herd animals Wild ancestors of cattle, pigs, sheep, and goats Most herd animals lived in a belt from Syria and southeastern Turkey across Iraq and Iran to central Asia In this region or nearby, farmers first combined domesticated plants and animals People began using cattle to pull the plow, increasing cultivated acreage Out of necessity, a portion of the harvest was put aside as livestock feed

86 Agricultural diffusion
The beginning of nomadic herding As grain-herd livestock farming expanded tillers entered marginal lands Crop cultivation proved difficult or impossible Population pressures forced people into marginal areas Livestock became more important than crops People began wandering with their herds so as not to exhaust local forage

87 Agricultural diffusion
Modern innovations in agriculture Twentieth century farming innovations and diffusions in the United States Example of expansion diffusion—the spread of hybrid maize Example of hierarchical diffusion—new innovations often gain acceptance by wealthier, large-scale farmers first


89 Agricultural diffusion
The spread of pump irrigation on the Colorado northern High Plains Studied by geographer Leonard Bowden Irrigation brought different crops, markets, and farming techniques Farmers had to decide if they wanted an entirely different system of farming than the one they had traditionally practiced First irrigation well began operation by 1935 At first diffusion was slow because of the Great Depression

90 Agricultural diffusion
The spread of pump irrigation on the Colorado northern High Plains Beginning in 1948, irrigation spread rapidly Bowden observed contagious diffusion from the core area and time- distance decay Diffusion barriers weakened through time as irrigation proved to be economically successful Loans were easier to get as irrigation proved to be successful

91 Agricultural diffusion
The Green Revolution India accepted hybrid seed, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides Myanmar resisted the revolution, favoring traditional farming methods A splotchy pattern of acceptance still characterizes paddy rice areas today Non-accepters are called “laggards”—inevitability of innovations is assumed

92 Agricultural diffusion
India and the Green Revolution New hybrid rice and wheat seeds first appeared in 1966 Allowed India’s 1970 grain production to double from its 1950 level Many poor farmers could not afford the cost for fertilizer and pesticides Many of the poor became displaced from the land by the wealthy and flocked to overcrowded cities

93 Agricultural diffusion
India and the Green Revolution Use of chemicals and poisons on the land heightened environmental damage Adoption of hybrid seed created another problem—loss of plant diversity or genetic variety Before widespread usage of hybrids, each farm developed its own distinctive seed types by saving seeds from the best plants

94 Agricultural diffusion
India and the Green Revolution Gene banks have been set up to preserve domesticated plant varsities from agricultural areas around the world Enormous genetic diversity vanished almost instantly when farmers began using new hybrids The Western innovation in plant genetics may have caused more harm than good

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