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Shifting Agriculture population density
- Areas of low population density as the soils are poor and unable to support more intensive agriculture
- As the temperature and rainfall are high, leaching is rapid and soils quickly lose their fertility
- Soils need longer periods of time to recuperate
Shifting cultivation Traditional methods
- In the Amazon shifting cultivators live in family groups of up to 15-20 people in a semi-permanent villiage and have 4-5 Chagras scattered over about 1000 hectares.
- very low levels of technology
- As little fertiliser is used, the natural fertility of the soil is regained by Fallowing- leaving the soil to regenerate naturally, while crops are not grown. This could be anything from 7-35 years
- Only a small proportion of land is used at any one time so large amounts of land are required and yields are low. crops are planted in the ash (slash and burn) of the cleared site.
- A succesion of crops is grown with the more demanding grown first: peppers, tobaco, beans and manioc.
- A new clearing is prepared prior to clearing being abandoned
Shifting cultivation- Changes
- Swiftly in the rainforest of the Amazon with the large scale exploitation of the forest
- Some shifting cultivators have been forced onto resevations or onto remote areas as goverment policy in Brazil has gone all out for opening the rainforest to developers e.g. H.e.p, ranching, mining and exstension of roads has brought contact with Western culture
- Populations have been decimated due to lack of immunity to "new" disease, genocide and out migration and their culture under threat with prostitution and alcoholism becoming more common as development passes many of them by
- peasant farmers from other parts of Brazil have moved into the forest and tried a type of shifting cultivation but do not have the knowledge of the forest that the natives do and are laying areas of forest to waste(soil erosion)
intensive subsistence farming population density
- high as soils are fertile especially along alluvial flood plains and theri fertility is maintained by a type of farming that maintains nutreint levels
- High temperatures and rainfall allows 2 or 3 crops per year
- Growing of high yielding grains e.g. rice can support large populations
Intensive subsistence farming- Traditional methods
- On lowland, wet rice is grown in flooded paddy fields and on steeper slopes terraces are made
- Best soils are heavy and impermeable and surrounded by Bunds(low mud walls)
- Flood plains floods during the wet season, bringing moisture silt and minerals to soil.
- irigation water is essential to the system in the drier season- Irrigation tanks store water from the wet season and the water is gravity fed to the fields
- Shadufs and water wheels lift water from wells or rivers and a network of irrigation canals deliver the water to the fields
- Very labour intensive and technology levels are low with ox-ploughs still used
- Rice is the main crop in wet season and wheat and vegetable are grown in the dry season
- Fertility is maintained by ploughing stubble back into the field and adding organic material (manure and human waste) to the soil and nitrogen fixing algae enrich the water and soil. Soil eroison is neglible.
Intensive subsistence farming changes
- Higher yields mean more people are better fed and many even have surplus crops for sale or export
- drop in food prices
- extra crop to be grown each year
- more reliable- more disease resistant
- more varied diet- some fields used for other crops
- more riliable harvests on marginal land
- enhanced quality of life, beteer roads and houses
- Countries give land reform to small farmers
- widened gap between rich and poor
- irrigation beng used to much- exspensive
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