Agriculture and Rural Land Use Patterns and Processes (Changes in food…
Agriculture and Rural Land Use Patterns and Processes
Changes in food production and consumption present challenges and opportunities.
innovations have resulted in ongoing debates over environmental, cultural, and health impacts e.g., biotechnology, genetically modified organisms, organic farming, aquaculture)
environmental issues related to agriculture: sustainability, soil degradation, reduction in biodiversity, overgrazing, river and aquifer depletion, animal wastes, and extensive fertilizer and pesticide use
patterns of food production and consumption are influenced by food-choice issues, e.g., organic farming, value-added specialty crops, fair trade, local-food movements
the location of food-production facilities is influenced by markets, economies of scale, transportation, government policies
changing role of women in food production and consumption
Major agricultural regions reflect physical geography and economic forces.
plant and animal production is dependent on climatic conditions, including spatial variations in temperature and rainfall
Some regions are associated with particular bioclimatic zones, e.g., Mediterranean, shifting agriculture, pastoral nomadism
economic forces also influence agricultural practices
large-scale commercial agric. operations are replacing small family
this transformation into large-scale agribusiness has resulted in complex commodity chains linking production and consumption of agricultural products
food is part of a global supply chain; products from less developed low-latitude regions (e.g. coffee, bananas) are often consumed globally
patterns of global food distribution are affected by political systems, infrastructure, and patterns of world trade
technological improvements have changed the economies of scale in the agriculture sector, e.g., large-scale operations
intensive land use
market gardening, plantation agric., mixed crop and livestock systems
extensive land use
shifting cultivation, nomadic herding, ranching
The development of agriculture led to widespread alteration of the natural environment.
major hearths of domestication of plants and animals and patterns of diffusion in the First (Neolithic) Revolution
Southwest Asia (Fertile Crescent); Southeast Asia, and the Americas
patterns of diffusion, including the Columbian exchange, resulted in the globalization of various plants and animals
connection between physical geography and agricultural practices:
bioclimatic zones, soil, landforms;
in order to increase food production, populations alter the landscape by terracing, irrigation, deforestation, draining wetlands
The Second Agricultural Revolution introduced new technology and methods to increase food production, leading to better diet, longer life, and more people available for factory work.
The Green Revolution
development of high-yield seeds (e.g., rice, wheat, maize), resulting in increased use of chemical and mechanized farming
positive consequences: increased food production and a relative reduction in hunger at the global scale
negative consequences: environmental damage from irrigation and chemical use (pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers) and the cost of technology and seeds
Settlement patterns and rural land use are reflected in the cultural landscape.
rural settlement patterns: clustered, dispersed, or linear
von Thunen's land use model helps to explain rural land use by emphasizing the importance of transportation costs assoc'd with distance from the market
his model helps explain contemporary distribution of agricultural regions (e.g., dairy, horticulture, wheat)
regions of specialty farming do not always conform to von Thunen's concentric rings, e.g., South Florida, California's Central Valley
environmental systems are influenced by land use/land cover change (e.g., irrigation, desertification, deforestation, wetland destruction, conservation efforts)