Tuesday May 21 , 2013
• Agriculture: “The active production of useful plants or animals in
ecosystems that have been created by people. Agriculture may include cultivating
the soil, growing and harvesting crops, and raising livestock” (Brittanica Concise
• Agri-ecosystem: “an ecological and socio-economic system, comprising
domesticated plants and/or animals and the people who husband them, intended
for the purpose of producing food, fibre, or other agricultural products” (Ch. 3)
Agri-ecosystem speaks spatially, it‟s somewhat bounded in the ways we think about it.
They‟re simpler than natural ecosystems because humans can contain the ecosystem.
• Domestication of plants and animals was the most important change in human
history (15,000 – 5000 BCE)
• In Agriculture, farmers prepare, tend and harvest animals and plants, using what
knowledge they have under particular ecological, economic and cultural
Hunting and gathering was replaced with the complex systems of farming. While
it reduced diversity of species, it still involved cyclical basis (food system). Over time,
more industrial methods have evolved, and there have been threats over exploitation of
land. A form of hunting still exists. Even fishing is changing because of fish farms. The
process of agriculture is the process of tending to those plants and animals, using science
and our knowledge of foods. Working within ecological restraints (interactivity). As we
change, then the ability of farmers to grow food changes dramatically.
• Agriculture involves using three factors of production: capital, labour,
Reasons for agricultural revolution: population pressures/ supporting those who didn‟t
want to hunt/gather (domestication), more alcohol (wheat), breed out the best kind of
Effects of human population: slavery, deforestation/environmental changing, people
could move from the shores.
Post-revolution, the increase of population was dramatic.
Key Points of Chapter 3
• Agri-ecosystems are relatively open, human-modified systems that are less
diverse than other ecosystems
• Physical environment fundamental to agriculture (environmental determinism),
BUT economic, political, socio-cultural, and marketing are as important in
explaining farming systems
Sedimentary human development, creates closed communities. Environmental Constraints on agriculture:
• Access to solar energy for photosynthesis (photo period, shading)
• Water availability and quality- essential, transports nutrients, reflection of