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Rural Geography

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  1. Rural Geography Types of farming

  2. Types of farming • Extensive arable farming • Shifting cultivation • Intensive peasant farming

  3. Extensive arable farming- commercial farming • The Prairies and Great Plains • Land taken from the Indians and the North American bison • Settled by land-hungry Europeans, often religious or economic refugees • Farming methods practised were rooted in European farming

  4. Main Characteristics • Carried out on very large holdings in areas where population density is low • High reliance on technology • Relatively low yields, however, this is compensated for by the very large areas under production • Minimal human input, but decisions taken by farmers are of great importance.

  5. Many successes • Extensive farming produced a lot of food • Grain was exported to Europe • Canada and the United States became prosperous countries • Farm prices were high in the first 2 decades of 20th century • Main problem was overproduction

  6. Extensive cereal production • The soils were naturally fertile chernozems • The farmers didn’t understand the climate, particularly rainfall variability • In the 1930’s the disastrous ‘Dust bowl’ was created due to inappropriate farm techniques • The soil conservation methods which were introduced have been copied all over the world

  7. The System • Income from outputs exceeds cost of inputs = PROFIT  investment in farm business  growth of business • Cost of output = cost of input = STABILITY • Cost of input exceeds cost of output = LOSS  Lack of investment  Stagnation and decline in farm business • Physical • Human • Economic/ • Political • Decisions made by farmer or farmers in a cooperative • Farm plan Crops, seeds, foodstuffs or livestock

  8. Climate • Copy the climate graph from the book

  9. Early 20th Century • Drought meant that homesteads did not survive • Improved agricultural technologies allowed them to cope • The new steel plough, disc harrow etc • Pumps and windmills • Barbed wire for fences • New strains of fast growing spring wheat

  10. The Dust Bowl • In the 1920’s/30’s, there was an increased rate of soil erosion in the southern part of the Great Plains, which lead to the area becoming a “dust bowl”. • Rural depopulation increased and as a result, farm sizes increased, making them more extensive.

  11. Late 20th Century • Continued rural depopulation lead to ever increasing steading sizes. • Dependence on technology increased • Output soared as new strains of wheat were developed, and more land was being used for production. • Irrigation was expanding, allowing more land to be used for production. Aquifers like Ogallala depleted rapidly. • Soil erosion continued to be a problem and the following strategies were introduced.

  12. Soil conservation measures • Contour ploughing • Strip cultivation • Wind breaks • Planting or flooding gullies • Leaving stubble or roots of crops in the fields

  13. Decline post WW2 • Farms became bigger and small farms consolidated as agribusiness took over • Many farmers left the land for the cities • Production became dependant on oil-for machines, for fertiliser, for plastics

  14. Agriculture fights back • New crops grown e.g sunflowers • Mixed farming traditional communities ( Hutterites are a religious group originating in 1528 during the Reformation.  Hutterites live communally in rural North America)   • Organic farming • Return of natural gazing and bison in some areas • Processing plants to add value eg. Making pasta

  15. Shifting Cultivation - Introduction • This type of agriculture involves the people “shifting” around in order to grow crops. • An area of land is cleared by “slash and burn” techniques, and then cultivated. • Once the soils have been exhausted, the tribe moves on and repeats the process in another area of forest.

  16. Mainly confined to the humid tropics • Growing season is continuous due to consistent temperature and rainfall • Main problem is the dense vegetation, and when cleared, the poor soils

  17. These areas have a low population density (like in extensive commercial) but for different reasons... • The rainforest is very isolated, with poor communications and a lack of economic development • The inability of shifting cultivation to support a large population. Techniques simply cannot support large numbers of people. • Disease can be an issue, introduced by white men. Malaria is endemic, and measles, whooping cough and chicken pox also infect native people. Influenza is a major hazard.

  18. The Farming Process • Human input and the output is relatively small. • Cultivation is possible all year round due to the climate (copy climate graph from book). • Cultivation is done by hand, no machines are used. It could be thought of as a large scale “garden”. • Shifting cultivation is sustainable (although a large area is needed to make it possible). (see extract from book p.255)

  19. Successes • It is best to cultivate gardens for two years, then left to fallow for 10. • They can be maintained in continuous cultivation using simple crop rotation, between maize, soya, bean and rice.

  20. Changes to Shifting Cultivation • A change will only be needed when there is a shortage of forest areas to clear and cultivate or when the population increases so rapidly, that a great deal more food will be required. • In north east Brazil, immigration by ‘colonists’ has caused problems as they take up areas of land for holdings along the new road. • These colonists (who have a lack of knowledge about the area) bring different ideas, technology and practices to the area, which may alter the idea of a sustainable farming strategy that the locals practice.

  21. Extensive areas of the rainforest are being cleared every day, which will obviously have an effect on the way of life in shifting cultivation society. • Large scale cattle ranches • Timber and mineral resources being exploited • Large scale HEP schemes are being developed.

  22. Finally... • Copy figure 8.24 on p. 245

  23. Intensive peasant farmingKedah State, Malaysia • Supports dense rural population • The population is mostly a youthful one, with a low death rate and long life expectancy. • Education levels are quite high, and health care provision is good.

  24. Settlements • There is a little evidence of rural-urban migration, but the countryside is still relatively crowded. • People live in long, linear shaped villages, known as kampongs. These are found along the raised banks of rivers • Sometimes, kampongs may be found on small islands in the middle of rice fields. • Copy figure 8.28 on p. 248.

  25. Farming • Similar climate to rainforest (copy climate graph on p. 250) • The natural vegetation was rainforest, but the pressure of population has long since cleared these areas. • Rice is the main crop, based on irrigation and water control to produce padi rice

  26. In January and February, when there is least rainfall, the rice normally ripens, but as agriculture has become more intensive, farmers grow 2 rice crops a year. • This has been made possible by the Muda Irrigation Project. • The practices remain the same, but instead of being subsistence, they are now commercial. • Copy diagram 8.36 on p. 252

  27. Landscape • Fields are mostly terraced – created on hillsides to provide areas to cultivate • Fields are very small • Rice is planted under water • Lack of mechanisation and so a large workforce is present to harvest the crop by hand • Oxen are used to draw carts and transport crops • Embankments are built around fields to hold the water in • Irrigation is used to transfer water to fields, is drier areas

  28. Changes • More productive and faster maturing rice strains are used, so allows for 2 crops a year. • Planting rice seed directly into the flooded padi fields, rather than transplating seedlings from nursery beds. • Using tractors instead of animals • The increased use of chemical fertilisers, rather than using guano that was collected from limestone caves in hills. • Using hired machinery to harvest crop, rather than using manual labour.

  29. Spending less time on other farming activities, such as cattle grazing, as the time or land is not available. • Some farmers now also have part time jobs in industrial estates so split their time between that, and farming. • As a result, there is a less diverse farming practice in Kedah state, and a huge focus on rice production

  30. Rice Terraces

  31. The Green Revolution • This is the time when the changes that have taken place in Kedah mirrored changes occurring in other parts of monsoon Asia. • This involved the development and the use of cereals that grew in a shorter period of time and had a high yield. It also involved the use of machinery, irrigation techniques to allow more crops to be grown and the use of agro-chemicals, such as fertilisers.

  32. Kedah and the Green Revolution • Kedah was an ideal location for the Green Revolution; • It had a favourable climate, relief and soil type for agriculture to occur • The farmers were educated and were willing to change their farming practices • The infrastructure to distribute the finished product (rice) was in place, as well as allowing inputs such as fertilisers into the area.

  33. Problems associated with the Green Revolution • Polluted run-off affects fish being bred in the paddy fields • Poorer farmers have not always benefited from the Green Revolution as they lacked the money for the necessary fertilisers • Less diversification, more emphasis on rice • Less community care to make sure everyone's rice was planted • Some parts of the developing world do not have enough food