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Chapter 3

GGR107 Chapter 3.docx

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Sarah Wakefield

Chapter 3: Agricultural Systems • Agriculture – the rearing of animals and the production of crop plants through cultivating the soil; manifestation of the interaction between people and environment • Agriculture comes from the word “field” which symbolizes the integral link between land- based production and accompanying modification of the natural environment • Agri-Ecosystem – ecological system overlain by socio-economic elements and processes • Farming is an agri-ecosystem • Compared to natural ecosystems, agri-ecosystems are: o Simpler o Less diversity of plants/animals  Ie. plant domestication has led to less genetically diverse crops compared to their wild ancestors o Biomass of large herbivores is bigger  Ie. higher proportion of high energy reaches crops and because of crop harvesting or consumption of crop, less energy reaches the soil from decaying matter o Open systems meaning more inputs and outputs  Ie. energy in the form of human and animal labour (direct)  Ie. energy in the form of seeds, fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, machinery, water (indirect)  Resource inputs include climate and soils which are the most prominent inputs CLIMATE • Physical constraints on agricultural activity: o Temperature o Solar energy o Water availability o Soil characteristics  Ie. depth, texture, acidity o Soil nutrient availability o Inherent biological characteristics of plants and animals  Ie. adaptation • Temperature ranges depict the growth and development that can take place o Minimum: insufficient heat for biological processes o Optimum: metabolic processes are at a maximum o Maximum: growth ceases; plants die • Solar energy requirements change per crop; seasons play a large role in the types of crops that can be
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