The Reasons For Agricultural Landscape Change (Farm Practices…
The Reasons For
Agricultural Landscape Change
E.g. Palm Oil in Indonesia
Increased demand has led to large-scale plantations throughout the tropics. this expansion is linked to the loss of 700,000 ha squared of tropical rain forest in Malaysia alone.
Forests are cleared by fires, which kill 80% of plant species leading to a loss of biodiversity and endangered species.
The landscape has changed from a bio diverse landscape full of different species, to one of mono culture and production of palm oil.
E.g. Soybeans in Brazil
Increased demand for soybeans has lead to habitat loss, with deforestation projected to increase threefold over the next 35 years to reach 54 million ha by 2050.
The increase in demand is due to changing western diet, where it is becoming increasingly popular as a low-calorie protein source.
There has been a huge loss of biodiversity within this large scale mono culture plantation, where it is estimated that only 35% of the Cerrado remains in its natural state.
E.g. America, Canada and their prairie landscape
Formation of terraces
E.g. China, for rice; As the increases in population put a strain on the environment, so they have needed to turn to ways to farm previously unsuitable land. Terracing allows them to grow rice on slopes, and is effective as it gives the rice high amounts of water, without the need to high level of irrigation. The construction of rice terraces dates back to ancient times, but is increasingly being used as it can weaken China's resilience on heavy machinery.
They are a levelled surface used in farming to cultivate sloping, hilly or mountainous areas, or used in flat areas where the soil and climate conditions are conducive to erosion. They are effective at growing crops such as rice, potatoes, maize and vineyards.
Use of fences, ditches, walls, dykes, wells and hedgerows
Wells: E.g. Ica Valley in Peru, for asparagus
Dykes: E.g. Holland, the Fens in England, allowing for previously unfarmable land to be brought into production
Ridge and furrow ploughing
Stone lines: E.g. Burkina Faso
External Power Players
E.g. The Sahel
They are produced from plant material, so are a renewable source of energy, however they are not carbon neutral.
The growing of crops for bio-fuels leads to decreases in food production as these crops are no longer used for food, instead used as a fuel source. Currently farmers are usually higher paid for growing bio-fuels, so the incentives to grow crops for food are less.
Some bio-fuels may reduce greenhouse gas emissions when replacing fossil fuels, but the net effects on climate change depend on where and from what raw materials they are produced. Carbon emissions from land-use change when forest or pasture is converted to cropland can largely negate the greenhouse gas savings obtained by using bio-fuels for transport.
Expanded bio-fuel production may threaten land and water resources and biodiversity.
Areas with an increase in agricultural production
Usually causing deforestation, as the land needs to be cleared for production. This increases the amount of carbon dioxide, as photosynthesis no longer takes place, adding to global warming and the greenhouse effect.
National, regional and local policies
EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)
Aimed to reduce production, improve the environment but still support farmers
Diversification: Grants > Farm Diversification Grant, FDGs, e.g. Livery yard, maize maze
Set aside: paid £200/ha to do nothing with the land
Hedgerow grants: to replant hedgerows
2006: Defra introduced the Countryside Stewardship Scheme, now know as ELS (Entry Level Stewardship Scheme) > 6m strips for wildlife
Now CAP is cheaper > makes up 45% of EU budget
Farmers are now the 'Guardians of the Landscape' > Role has changed
1970 - 1995: CAP lead to intensification of agriculture achieved by giving incentives to farmers:
Incentives for farmers to intensify
Subsidies: £ to invest into modernising
Guaranteed price: even if market value is lower
Tariffs from imports: made UK products more competitive > protectionism
Hedgerow rem,oval grant and drainage subsidies/grants > Bring more land into production
Food production increased > Surplus > Grain mountains, wine lakes, milk lakes
70% of EU budget spent on farming, but only <5% of EU economy was involved in farming
Cost to environment, wildlife and hedgerow ecosystems > 2000, 000 miles of hedges removed in 60 years
1950 - European policy to increase food supply was established
Aim was to provide cheap food and increase production
WW2 - 'Dig for Victory'