HIGHER GEOGRAPHY HUMAN - RURAL. Let’s now look at the three case study farming types. They are called;- SHIFTING CULTIVATION INTENSIVE PEASANT FARMING EXTENSIVE COMMERCIAL FARMING You will need to know;- An example of where each type is practiced What the landscape looks like
Let’s now look at the three case study farming types.
You will need to know;-
Indonesia and PNG.
Tropic of Cancer
Tropic of Capricorn
Global Distribution of Shifting Cultivation
Shifting cultivation is practiced in the Equatorial Rainforest areas of the world.
An example is the Boro Indian tribe in Amazonia- Brazil, South America.
The land is lush with dense vegetation cover, but it is very fragile! Stop the cycle of nutrients and the soil is easily ruined!
The native indians know how to work the land without spoiling it in the long term.
This is called SUSTAINABLE, and it is good!
What are the processes involved in
A clearing with its crops surrounding the communal hut.
A maloca- home to several inter-related families.
A Boro tribe Maloca
A Guarani tribe version
The design varies between different tribal groups…
SLASH AND BURN is used to clear the land.
Some trees such as the banana tree might be left standing. Why?
Why is this better than chopping the trees down and removing them?
In Papua New Guinea a house is built in a few hours…
The final roof covering goes on…
Inside, the houses are extremely basic.
A family in their Maloca.
6. The women and children burn the chopped wood- it adds ash as a weak fertiliser, though this is quickly washed out of the soil by the rain.
7. The women then plant their ‘gardens’ called CHAGRAS between the stumps in a random, irregular way.
8. They weed and tend the plants over the next few months, and can harvest up to three crops a year. Remember there are no seasons in the rainforest, and there is continuous growth!
9. All the work is done with digging sticks, hoes and machetes- very low technology!
..the cut down trees are allowed to dry for three months or so, then burned, in small, controlled fires.
Who needs matches? … making fire with two sticks
Ground clearance is very hard work, so many stumps, branches and roots are left.
The burned wood adds ash (a natural fertiliser) to the soil.
In this Chagra, -a garden rather than a field-, maize seeds are being planted amongst SweetPotato.
Manioc – probably the singlemost important crop…
…its roots providing carbohydrate-rich Cassava flour (Tapioca).
Simple fences to keep out wild and domestic animals…
Maize (corn) may be grown where the soils are richer.
Papaya and other fruits form an important part of the diet.
Other crops may include…
Domesticated animals such as pigs and chickens may also be kept.
However, the torrential rains cause rapid leaching of the already poor soils, washing vital minerals out of the soil and reducing its fertility. This is why the clearings are only used for a few years.
Unless the land is left fallow (rested) to recover these nutrients, it will be permanently degraded.
LEACHING by rain.
After a few years, the crops start to fail and the clearing is abandoned – to be reclaimed by the forest.
Forest cleared by ‘slash and burn’ method. The ash acts as a fertiliser
This farming does not lead to serious destruction as it allows the forest to naturally regenerate.
Food crops such as manioc, sweet potatoes and maize are grown.
The diet is supplemented by hunting, fishing and gathering food from the forest.
River sites are good for fishing and transport
The settlement pattern is dispersed or scattered.
Because of the large area of forest required with all of these moves, the overall population density is very low – often less than 1 person per sq.km.
There is a variation on this type of farming;
BUSH FALLOWING iswhere the group settle in one area, living in a permanent maloca for very much longer than usual.
They grow their crops in ‘fields’ around the settlement.
To stop the soil getting ruined too soon, they practice CROP ROTATION. This is where they use a different field each time for a different crop.
They usually leave some of the fields FALLOW to let them recover a bit.
See the booklet, pages 12/13.
Some Indian groups have been forced into reservations or retreated into more remote areas deep in the forest;
many tribes have suffered from Culture Shock;
There has been violence and intimidation against these tribes, with many thousands killed by new settlers;
Thousands have also died due to lack of immunity to “western” diseases such as measles;
There has been serious water pollution by gold mining, which uses toxic substances such as mercury. This has caused poisoning of rivers and people.
In Brazil, for example, the building of the Trans Amazonian Highway has opened up the virgin rainforest to settlement and exploitation, often with disastrous consequences for the shifting cultivators.
Massive deforestation is removing the habitat on which shifting cultivation depends, as here in Brazil.
HIGHER GEOGRAPHY HUMAN - RURAL
Huge fires now destroy enormous areas in a few hours.
Shifting cultivation is abandoned and replaced by large, often foreign owned schemes.
…such as the Jari Project in the 70s and 80s, with its forestry plantations, cattle ranches, towns and railway lines.
Thousands of garimpeiros, or gold miners, devastate an area of rainforest in a desperate search for gold.