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March 27th

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McGill University
GEOG 205
Gail Chmura

March 27 , 2013: Land Use (Guest Lecturer)  what is land use? what do we use land for? o transportation o agriculture o raising livestock o residential, commercial, industrial o parks & conservation o recreation o extractive activities  logging  amount of land for crops only is about 12%  36% for crops + pasture  amount of land for conservation areas is about 11-12%  extractive activities (logging, mining, etc.) areas have no estimation of land use  take relatively small amount of land but the impacts are wide, so it’s hard to measure in terms of area  urban areas take up only 3% of global land  50% of people on earth live in urban areas  global land use change over time – questions to consider after watching the video o what type of major historical events seem to have an impact on land use?  industrial revolution  colonization  war  political situations o name one change that surprised you  first land uses were agriculture  there is evidence of farming fields that were abandoned over 600 years ago in South America  around 1850, the conversion from natural ecosystems to cropland really took off  we have essentially converted all arable land in North America to cropland  land use transitions show that once land use usually comes at the expense of another over time o natural ecosystem  frontier clearings  subsistence agriculture & small-scale farms  intensive agriculture or urban areas or protected/recreational lands o this is the kind of transition that happened in North America and that is happening in Latin America & the Tropics now  agriculture covers 2.5 billion hectares (area size of South America) are currently used for crops (12% of planet’s free land)  agricultural plot planning is different everywhere  in Minnesota plots are rectangular, Kansas uses circles, Thailand uses thin strips of land that back onto a canal, etc.  grasslands have rich soils that are good for growing crops & they have the right amount of precipitation, so they are typically the “bread baskets” of the world  “meat baskets” of the world are in deserts and rainforests  roughly 55% of the world was covered by forest originally  now it is 30% of global land area o we sill have over 50% of original forest cover o we don’t have much temperate forest at this point o forests have been cleared from densely populated areas  Asia o roughly 25% of previously forested global land area has been transformed o now, most changes are happening in tropical rainforests of Southern America  Brazil has the largest annual net loss in forest area from 2000-2005  can clear entirely in 154 years in continue  can clear Indonesia of forest entirely in 46 years  China has the largest annual net gain in forest area from 2000-2005  tropical forests disappear at a rate of 1.8% each year  Amazonian forest o 87% of original area o 40% remaining tropical forest o 15% global photosynthesis  why are we clearing the Amazon rainforest? o cattle ranches  60% o small-scale, subsistence agriculture  33% o fires, mining, urbanization, road construction, damns  3% o logging, legal & illegal  3% o large-scale, agriculture  1%  take a step back… why does all of this matter? o forests play key role in other systems on earth o cutting down forests gives local & global impacts  local effects of reducing forest cover o floods & runoff incr
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