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👨‍🌾 Unit 5

  •  ⏱️2 min read

5.1 Introduction to Agriculture

pooja kalyan

⏱️ May 4, 2020


Physical Geography and Agricultural Practices

How are they related?

Just as the environment shaped where humans settled across the world, the physical landscape and climate alters agricultural practices and land-use. The variations in the environment have led to people adopting different farming methods, which can be divided into intensive or extensive farming practices. Here's how you can differentiate easily between the two: 

  • Size of Land 

    • Intensive = small size of land 

    • Extensive = large size of land 

  • Amount of Labor 

    • Intensive = High inputs of labor 

    • Extensive = Low inputs of labor 

  • Capital 

    • Intensive = large amounts of capital (advanced agricultural techniques and technology) 

    • Extensive = relies more on land than technology

  • Examples 

    • Intensive = market gardening, mixed crop/livestock, plantation agriculture

    • Extensive = nomadic herding, ranching, shifting cultivation

Intensive Farming Practices

In intensive farming practices (also known as Intensive Agriculture), a large amount of money is invested to increase the yield per unit of land, thereby reducing the size of land required to farm on. In this type of agricultural practice, it is common to see a great use of pesticides, fertilizers, and fungicides for crops as well as advanced machinery for harvesting crops. While this does increase the yield per unit of land, it also increases the amount of labor and capital required per unit of land. Intensive agriculture is commonly found in areas close to the market in order to reduce the cost of transporting goods. 

Mixed crop/livestock systems and plantation agriculture are two intensive farming practices you should remember for the AP Exam: 

  • Mixed Crop/Livestock systems = 

    • both crops and animals are produced on the same farm 

      • Saves space -> perfect for this farming method! 

    • Animals can be used to help produce crops and vice versa 

      • Animal waste can be used as plant fertilizer 

      • Plants provide animals with food 

  • Plantation Agriculture = 

    • Commercial farming focused on the production of one or two crops

      • Typically cash crops like sugarcane, cotton, tobacco, banana

Extensive Farming Practices

In extensive farming practices (also known as Extensive Agriculture), a larger amount of land is required compared to intensive farming practices, primarily because lower inputs of labor are put into this method. The labor is less intense and less technology (such as fertilizers and machinery) is used in extensive agriculture, resulting in the larger land size in order to remain profitable. 

Nomadic Herding, Ranching, and Shifting Cultivation are three types of extensive farming practices that you should be familiar with for the AP Exam: 

  • Nomadic Herding = continuously moving livestock to find land for them to graze 

  • Ranching = commercial based agriculture where cattle and hogs are fattened for meat production 

  • Shifting Cultivation = practice of cultivating crops in forest land that has been cleared through a method of cutting and burning

    • also known as slash and burn agriculture

    🎥 Watch: AP HUG - Types of Agriculture

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👨‍🌾  Unit 5: Agriculture & Rural Land-Use

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