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Chapter 3

GGR107H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Corn Belt, Capillary Action, Evapotranspiration


Department
Geography
Course Code
GGR107H1
Professor
Sarah Wakefield
Chapter
3

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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:
oSimpler
oLess diversity of plants/animals
Ie. plant domestication has led to less genetically diverse crops compared to
their wild ancestors
oBiomass 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
oOpen 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:
oTemperature
oSolar energy
oWater availability
oSoil characteristics
Ie. depth, texture, acidity
oSoil nutrient availability
oInherent biological characteristics of plants and animals
Ie. adaptation
Temperature ranges depict the growth and development that can take place
oMinimum: insufficient heat for biological processes
oOptimum: metabolic processes are at a maximum
oMaximum: growth ceases; plants die
Solar energy requirements change per crop; seasons play a large role in the types of crops
that can be grown in certain areas
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