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AGRICULTURE. Origins of Agriculture. When humans domesticated plants and animals for their use Agriculture - deliberate modification of the earth’s surface through cultivation of plants and rearing of animals to obtain sustenance or economic gain Cultivate - “to care for”

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origins of agriculture
Origins of Agriculture
  • When humans domesticated plants and animals for their use
  • Agriculture - deliberate modification of the earth’s surface through cultivation of plants and rearing of animals to obtain sustenance or economic gain
  • Cultivate - “to care for”
  • Crop - any plant cultivated by people
hunter gatherers
Hunter Gatherers
  • Today 250,000 people still survive this way
  • .005% of human population
  • Small groups in isolated locations
  • Arctic, interior of Africa, Australia, and South America
earliest plant cultivation
Earliest Plant Cultivation
  • According to cultural geographer Carl Sauer
    • Vegetative planting - reproduction of plants by direct cloning from existing plants, such as cutting stems and dividing roots
    • Seed agriculture - (later) - reproduction of plants through annual planting of seeds that result from sexual fertilization. Practiced today by most farmers.
agricultural hearths vegetative planting
Agricultural Hearths(vegetative planting)
  • Southeast Asia
    • Diverse climate & topography encouraged growth of variety of plants
    • More sedentary population because relied on fishing more than hunting
    • Taro, yam, banana, palm
    • Diffused north and east to China and Japan and west to India, southwest Asia, Africa, and Mediterranean
    • Dog, pig, & chicken first domesticated animals
  • West Africa - oil palm and yam
  • Northwest South America - manioc, sweet potato, arrowroot
first seed agriculture eastern hemisphere
First Seed Agriculture(Eastern Hemisphere)
  • Western India -
    • diffused to Southwest Asia where wheat and barley were domesticated & where animals were first intergrated with plant agriculture. Cattle, sheep & goats plowed the land & were fed crops.
    • Diffused to Mediterranean & Europe
  • Northern China
    • Millet diffused to Southeast Asia
  • Ethiopia
    • Millet and sorghum, did not diffuse widely
first seed agriculture western hemisphere
First Seed AgricultureWestern Hemisphere
  • Southern Mexico
    • Extended into Guatemala and Honduras
    • Squash and maize (corn)
  • Northern Peru
    • Squash, beans, cotton
    • Llama, alpaca, turkey
  • Multiple origins of agriculture means that people have always produced food in distinctive ways. Based on climate & cultural preferences
forms of agriculture
Subsistence

produced for consumption

work by hand

most people work (more than 1/2 of workers are farmers)

shifting cultivation

nomadic herding

intensive subsistence (rice dominant or not rice dominant)

plantation agriculture

Commercial

produced for market (mainly food processors - agribusiness - part of the food production industry)

Machines & scientific advances (fertilizer, etc)

few laborers (less than 1/10 of workers in MDCs are engaged in farming)

livestock & ranching

horticulture

dairy farming

mixed crop

grain

Mediterranean

Forms of Agriculture
world agricultural regions
World Agricultural Regions
  • Whittlesey’s map from 1936
    • Most widely used
    • 11 main agricultural regions & 1 where it’s nonexistent (5 regions in LDCs, 6 regions in MDCs)
    • Sorted practices by climate (2 maps, one of climate regions & Whittlesey’s are similar)
    • Strong correlation between climate & agriculture (Much of the West is dry and also home to ranching)
agriculture in ldcs
Agriculture in LDCs
  • Shifting cultivation
  • Pastoral nomadism
  • Intensive subsistence agriculture
  • Plantation farming
shifting cultivation
Shifting Cultivation
  • Tropics (high temp, high rainfall)
  • Amazon, Central & West Africa, Southeast Asia
  • 250 million people
  • Usually small villages that grow food on surrounding, communal land
  • Two Hallmarks of Shifting Cultivation
    • Slash and burn agriculture
    • Farmers grow crops on a cleared field for only a few years until soil is depleted, then leave fallow so soil can recover
process of shifting cultivation
Process of Shifting Cultivation
  • Cut down trees & brush
  • Remainder is burned & ashes add nutrients to soil
  • Swidden (cleared area)
  • Land is hoed and planted
  • crops grow for 3 years, then nutrients are depleted and fields are left fallow for 6-20 years.
shifting cultivation1
Shifting Cultivation
  • Main Crops
    • SE Asia - rice
    • S America - maize, manioc
    • Africa - millet, sorghum
    • Also: yams, sugarcane, plantains
    • Families grow for their own needs, so one swidden may contain many crops & look chaotic
  • Land Ownership
    • Traditionally, village owns land & allocates parts to families, but changing
    • 1/4 world’s land area, but less than 5% of people
future of shifting cultivation
Future of Shifting Cultivation
  • Declining in the tropics at 30K sq. mi/yr
    • Replaced by logging, ranching & cash crops
    • Critics: “inefficient way to feed many”
    • Defenders: “most environmental kind of agriculture”
      • No fertilizer or pesticides
      • Allow native plants to grow back in fallow years
      • Protects against erosion, soil damage & unbalanced ecosystems
    • Loss of shifting cultivation could harm diversity of cultures (agriculture connected to social, religious, and political customs
pastoral nomadism
Pastoral Nomadism
  • Subsistence ag. based on herding animals
    • Depend on herds for life, but eat mostly grain
  • Dry climates, crops impossible
  • N. Africa, Middle East, central Asia
    • (Bedouins of Saudi Arabia, Masai of East Africa)
  • 15m people, on 20% of world’s land area
  • Declining - gov’ts forcing

Nomads to settle because

want access to lands for

irrigation, mining, oil

intensive subsistence agriculture
Intensive Subsistence Agriculture
  • Most of Ag in LDCs (needed in densely populated areas)
  • Small farms, fragmented
  • Ag density is high (lotsof farmers per unit of land) - land must be very productive
  • Most done by hand
  • Waste no land (roads kept narrow to maximizefarmland)
  • Asia divided: wet rice dom. & not dom.
intensive subsistence ag wet rice dominant
Intensive Subsistence Ag. Wet Rice Dominant
  • “wet rice” - practice of planting rice on dry land in nursery & then moving to flooded field to promote growth
  • Small % of Asia’s agricultural land, but largest source of food for region
  • Southeast China, East India, Southeast Asia
  • “sawah” - flooded rice field
  • Rice harvested by hand. To separate husks (“chaff”) from seeds, the heads are “threshed”- beaten or stomped on. Lighter chaff is “winnowed” - allowed to be blown away by wind. To be eaten, outer “hull” must be removed with mortar and pestle.
  • Grown on flat land: river valleys and deltas
  • Population pressure has forced up hillsides: terracing
  • Double cropping - 2 harvests per year (only in warm climates & alternate with a crop that can be grown in drier months, like wheat.)
intensive subsistence not rice
Intensive Subsistence Not Rice
  • Same characteristics as wet rice dom., just different crops (human power, work land intensively, no land wasted)
  • Low precipitation & harsh winters (can’t grow rice)
  • Interior India, NE China
  • Wheat, barley, millet, oats, corn, soy & cash crops like cotton, tobacco, flax
  • Crop rotation - can get more than one harvest per year by putting different crops in fields
plantation farming
Plantation Farming
  • Commercial Agriculture (MDCs) found in LDCs, tropics of Africa, Asia, Latin Am.
  • Large farm specializing in 1 or 2 crops
    • Cotton, sugarcane, tobacco, bananas, tea
  • Remote locations
    • Workers imported & provided with housing, food, social services
    • Try to spread out work throughout year to make use of labor force.
    • Many goods processed on plantation (tobacco) - easier to ship
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