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Unit 5 Review (Agriculture)

written by

Amanda DoAmaral

amanda doamaral

published on august 5, 2020

Last updated on August 3, 2020

Unit V. Agriculture, Food Production, & Rural Land-Use (13-17%)

In AP® Human Geography, unit 5 covers the development and processes of agriculture including food production and rural land-use. The following guide will be updated periodically with hyperlinks to excellent resources. As you are reviewing for this unit, focus on the key concepts!

You can request the full Ultimate Guide to AP Human Geography here.

Unit 5 Summary

⚡ Read: AP Human Geography - Unit 5 Overview

The following summary is from AMSCO AP Human Geography:

About 12,000 years ago, people living in Southwest Asia began to grow crops and raise animals intentionally. From the beginning of agriculture in that region, and later in a few other regions, agriculture diffused throughout the world. Since 1750, mechanization, the use of chemicals, and research have dramatically increased agricultural productivity. This increase has allowed more people to work outside of agriculture, but has increased stress on the environment.

What people have grown and raised has always been shaped by the climate, soils, and landforms of a place. In addition, the types of agricultural products that farmers produce, whether dairy or vegetables or grain, is heavily influenced by the nearness of the market. Farmers have also shaped the landscape by cutting down trees and draining wetlands, etc. Improvements in technology have shifted the industry towards larger enterprises and greater interdependence.

Changes in technology and society influence how people produce and consume food. Since women were often in charge of cooking, and food is increasingly prepared outside the home, women now have more flexibility.

Unit 5 Essential Questions

  • How has the development of agriculture affected the spatial distribution of people?
  • Why does agriculture vary so greatly around the world?
  • How do farmers and others who live in rural areas decide how to use land?

Models to Know from Unit 5

STUDY TIP: The models will appear all over the exam, in both multiple choice and FRQs. You should be able to identify each one from a description or image, apply them to examples, and use them in your writing. 

  1. Von Thunen Agricultural Location Theory
  2. Ester Boserup’s Theory

⚡ Read: AP Human Geography - The Von Thunen Model

Past FRQs from Unit 5

STUDY TIP: Content from the this unit has appeared on the FRQs seven times since 2001. Take a look at these questions before you review the key concepts & vocabulary below to get a sense of how you will be assessed. Then, come back to these later and practice writing as many as you can!


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2016 - Question 3: Subsistence and Commercial Agriculture and their impacts

2014 - Question 3: Effects of coffee production of producer & consumer countries

2012 - Question 2: Subsistence Farming and Shifting Cultivation

2009 - Question 3: Organic and Dairy Farm trends in the United States

2007 - Question 1: Von Thunen Model of Land Use

2004 - Question 2: Distribution of Poultry Farms in the United States

2001 - Question 1: Green Revolution


*The following outline was adapted from the AP® Human Geography Course Description as published by College Board in 2015 found here. This outline reflects the most recent revisions to the course.

  1. Development and diffusion of agriculture

    1. Neolithic Agricultural Revolution

    2. Second Agricultural Revolution

  2. Major agricultural production regions

    1. Agricultural systems associated with major bioclimatic zones

    2. Variations within major zones and effects of markets

    3. Linkages and flows among regions of food production and consumption

  3. Rural land use and settlement patterns

    1. Models of agricultural land use, including Von Thunen’s model

    2. Settlement patterns associated with major agricultural types

  4. Modern commercial agriculture

    1. Third Agricultural Revolution

    2. Green Revolution
    3. Biotechnology
    4. Spatial organization and diffusion of industrial agriculture
    5. Future food supplies and environmental impacts of agriculture

⚡ Watch: AP Human Geography - Agricultural History and Revolutions, Changes in Agriculture, Rural Land-Use Patterns, Spatial Organization of Agriculture/Settlement Pattern, and The Green Revolution

⚡ Read: AP Human Geography - The Global System of Agriculture, Consequences of Agricultural Practices, and Challenges of Contemporary Agriculture


STUDY TIP: These are the concepts and vocabulary from unit 5 that most commonly appear on the exam. Create a quizlet deck to make sure you are familiar with these terms!

  • Adaptive strategies

  • Agribusiness
  • Agricultural industrialization
  • Agricultural landscape
  • Agricultural location model
  • Agricultural origins
  • Agriculture
  • Animal domestication
  • Aquaculture
  • Biorevolution
  • Biotechnology
  • Collective farm
  • Commercial agriculture (intensive, extensive)
  • Core/periphery
  • Crop rotation
  • Cultivation regions
  • Dairying
  • Debt-for-nature swap
  • Diffusion
  • Double cropping
  • Economic sectors (primary, secondary, tertiary, quaternary, quinary)
  • Environmental modification (pesticides, soil erosion, desertification)
  • Extensive subsistence agriculture (shifting cultivation [slash-and- burn, milpa, swidden], nomadic herding/pastoralism) Extractive industry
  • Farming
  • Feedlot
  • First agricultural revolution
  • Food chain
  • Globalized agriculture
  • Green Revolution
  • Growing season
  • Hunting and gathering
  • Intensive subsistence agriculture
  • Intertillage
  • Livestock ranching
  • Market gardening
  • Mediterranean agriculture
  • Mineral fuels
  • Mining
  • Planned economy
  • Plant domestication
  • Plantation agriculture
  • Renewable/nonrenewable
  • Rural settlement (dispersed, nucleated, building material, village form)
  • Sauer, Carl O.
  • Second agricultural revolution
  • Specialization
  • Staple grains
  • Suitcase farm
  • Survey patterns (long lots, metes and bounds, township-and-range)
  • Sustainable yield
  • Third agricultural revolution (mechanization, chemical farming, food manufacturing)
  • Transhumance
  • Von Thünen, Johann Henrich



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