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GGR107H1 (52)
Chapter 3

Chapter 3: Agricultural Systems

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CHAPTER 3 AGRICULTURAL SYSTEMS31 INTRODUCTION Agriculture the rearing of animals and the production of crop plants through cultivating the soil It is a manifestation of the interaction between people and the environmentAgricultural geography includes spatial distribution of crops and livestock the systems of management employed the nature of linkages to the broader economic social cultural political and ecological systems and the broad spectrum of food production processing marketing and consumptionSix key factors can be recognized as influencing the distribution of farming types biological physical economic political sociocultural and marketing 32 THE AGRIECOSYSTEMThere is reciprocal relationship between environmental factors and agricultural activity Environment affects the nature of farming exerting a wide range of controls but in turn farming affects the environmentAgricultural systems are modifications of natural ecosystems they are artificial human creations in which productivity is increased through control of soil fertility vegetation fauna and microclimateAgricultural systems generate undesirable environmental consequencesAgriculture deals with living things The plants and animals have inherent biological characteristics that largely determine their productivity They function best in environments to which they are well adapted and this exerts a strong influence on the nature and location of agricultural production Agriecosystem vs Natural ecosystemIn an agriecosystem the farmer is the essential human component that influences or determines the composition functioning and stability of the system The system differs from natural ecosystems in that the agriecosystems are simpler with less diversity of plant and animal species and with a less complex structureIn the agriecosystem the long history of plant domestication has produced agricultural crops with less genetic diversity than their wild ancestorsIn agriecosystems the biomass of the large herbivores such as cattle and sheep is much greater than those found in the natural ecosystemIn an agriecosystem less energy is supplied to the soil from dead and decaying organic matter and humus Agriecosystems are more open systems with a greater number and larger volume of inputs and outputs33 CLIMATE AND AGRICULTURE Climate determines the broad geographical region in which any given crop can be cultivated 331 Temperature With reference to crop growth provided there is adequate water the crucial determinants are temperature and lightThis notion tends to assume a linear relationship between increase in heat and crop growth
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