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Unit 5

5.0 Unit 5 Overview: Agriculture and Rural Land-Use Patterns and Processes

4 min readโ€ขjune 21, 2021

Pooja Kalyan


AP Human Geographyย ๐Ÿšœ

Bookmarkedย 5.4kย โ€ขย 305ย resources
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Unit 5 ~ composes anywhere from 12-17% of the AP Examโ€™s contentย 

5.0: Introduction to Agriculture & Rural Land Use

How do you get your food every day? This unit examines the origins of agriculture and how it has spread throughout history. A primary focus is on the role technology ๐Ÿšœ has played in transforming methods of food production over time. The unit also includes a careful examination of the global system of food production and trade ๐ŸŒŽ and how this system affects countries with varying levels of economic development ๐Ÿ’ฒ. Finally, the unit will conclude with an analysis of the positive and negative consequences of modern land use and food production methods.ย 

Key Questions:ย 

  • Why do certain regions produce certain types of crops?
  • Why are cities not optimal places to grow food?
  • How have agricultural innovations affected the world?
  • What is the Green Revolution, and how does it affect world food production?
  • Why is sustainable agriculture such an important topic for the future?

Evolution of Agriculture ๐ŸŒฝ๐ŸŒพ๐Ÿ“๐Ÿ„๐Ÿ–๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿšœ

Agricultural production has changed dramatically over time. First, hunter-gatherer societies began domesticating plants and animals during the First Agricultural Revolution. Improved farming techniques and mechanization ๐Ÿšœ during the Industrial Revolution ๐Ÿญ were important characteristics of the Second Agricultural Revolution. In the past century, the Third Agricultural Revolution (Green Revolution) has transformed the global agricultural system and increased connections ๐Ÿ”— between countries worldwide. The common theme in each of these agricultural revolutions has been an increase in the food supply ๐Ÿฅซ๐Ÿ˜‹ due to improvements in farming practices and agricultural technologies.ย 
Agricultural Innovations Over Time
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-zciFj8LJG0Zh.png?alt=media&token=ae414d4d-a67a-40ae-b706-68564285e72c

Image from Direct Media

    https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-IVSmKTLZTA7w.jpg?alt=media&token=b0834beb-a29d-4505-9f35-84ea9614ab88

    Image from Flickr

    https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-061WBptRKH5T.png?alt=media&token=74fbcf11-9c26-4101-a094-7cd7aefa78f9

    Image from Pixabay

    ๐ŸŽฅ Watch: APHUG - The Green Revolution

    Cultural Landscapes in Agriculture ๐ŸŒฑ

    Beginning with the first domestication of plants and animals ๐ŸŒฑ๐Ÿ„ thousands of years ago, humans have been altering natural landscapes to increase agricultural productivity. Cultural landscapes (โ€œbuilt environmentโ€) have evolved as humans have increasingly leveraged agricultural innovations such as terracing ๐ŸŒ„, irrigation ๐Ÿšฐ, and deforestation ๐ŸŒฒ๐Ÿช“ to raise plants and animals more efficiently. Factory farming ๐Ÿญ๐ŸŒฑ practices have become a more common theme in agricultural landscapes since farming first started utilizing mechanization during the Industrial Revolution of the 1700s.

    The โ€œWhy of Whereโ€ in Agriculture ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ—บ๐ŸŒฑโ“

    The โ€œWhy of Whereโ€ in global agricultural productionโ€”understanding why certain plants and animals are grown/raised where they areโ€”requires an understanding of global climate zones and economic forces of supply and demand ๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ’น๐Ÿ’ฑ๐Ÿ’ธ. Some crops can only be grown in humid tropical environments ๐Ÿ๐ŸŒ, while others thrive in more moderate climates. Pastoral nomadism ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿช and ranching ๐Ÿ„ are more common in regions with dry climates unsuitable for crop production. Besides climate-related restrictions, what farmers decide to produce depends on demand at the local, national, and global scale. For example, more developed countries have more money to spend on food items that would be considered luxuries in less developed countries (tropical fruits, beef products, etc.)

    Extensive & Intensiveย 

    Knowing the difference between extensive and intensive land use is another critical component required to fully understand the โ€œwhy of whereโ€ concerning agricultural systems.ย 
    Extensive land use involves a smaller amount of capital resources and paid labor in relation to the amount of space usedโ€”common examples include:
    • commercial cattle ranching ๐Ÿ„๐Ÿ’ฐ in the United Statesย 
    • nomadic herding ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿซ in the Middle East
    Both of these examples utilize large amounts of land with minimal inputs of capital and labor.ย 
    Intensive land use requires larger capital and labor inputs relative to the space that is being used. Examples include:
    • Fruit and nut farming in California ๐Ÿ“๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ‰๐ŸŒฐ.
    • Rice farming in parts of Asia ๐ŸŒพ๐Ÿš.
    • Plantation farming ๐Ÿ๐ŸŒ.
    Pastoral Nomads (Extensive)
    https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-QFO3UjBCdiQ6.png?alt=media&token=a6f82512-ccf8-4b56-b4ba-5651dc827027

    Image from Wikimedia Commons

    Market Gardening (Intensive)
    https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-gHjzQwPvZWmH.png?alt=media&token=3c7a0ce8-c790-4265-b9f2-3657b6e9fdab

    Image from Flickr

    Large-Scale Agribusiness ๐ŸŒฑ๐Ÿ•ด๐Ÿšš๐Ÿญ๐Ÿ“บ๐Ÿ“ˆ๐Ÿ’ผ๐Ÿ’ธ

    An increasingly common trend in agriculture has been a shift away from small family farms ๐Ÿ‘ช to a more complex agribusiness model of food production. While this trend is seen mainly in higher developed countries, it has affected virtually all countries due to increased globalization ๐ŸŒ. The large-scale agriculture practiced within this model involves far more than simply planting and harvesting crops and raising livestock. These goods are usually processed in highly mechanized factories ๐Ÿญ, transported to multiple locations ๐Ÿšš, and eventually marketed and sold in various retail outlets ๐Ÿช. Another critical component of this system is the continued research and development of new crops ๐ŸŒฑ, fertilizers, agrichemicals, and other agriculture-related technologies.
    https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-ad1IxWoFmRKP.png?alt=media&token=de20f0bc-feae-40b8-9854-6750e0de0cfa

    Image from Flickr

    ๐ŸŽฅ Watch: APHUG - Agricultural Supply Chain

    Global System of Agriculture ๐ŸŒ๐ŸŒฑ

    As economic and political relationships have increased worldwide due to globalization, agriculture has become more interconnected ๐Ÿ”— than ever before. Advancements in transportation โœˆ๐Ÿšข๐Ÿšš and communication technologies ๐Ÿ“ฑ๐Ÿ’ป have resulted in the development of a highly complex system of global food production involving countries at all levels of economic growth.ย 
    ๐ŸŽฅ Watch: APHUG - Global System of Agriculture

    ย 

    Rural Land Use

    By far the most essential model of rural land use ever developed is theย Von Thunen Model, which was initially designed to better understand the relationship between the location of farms in relation to market forces and transportation and production costs. A comprehensive understanding of rural land use also involves knowing the differences between land survey systems such as theย metes and bounds, long-lot, and township and range systems.

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