Ecological Anthropology: Intensive Agriculture <ul><li>Chapter Nine,  pages 251-289 in  Introduction to Cultural Ecology  ...
Intensive Agriculture <ul><li>Large scale complex system of farming and animal husbandry </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Significant...
Intensive Agriculture: Worldview  <ul><li>Some intensive agricultural societies develop a worldview that they are not boun...
Changes in Scale <ul><li>Major difference between horticulture and intensive agriculture is that of  scale  </li></ul><ul>...
Intensive Agriculture Techniques  <ul><li>Irrigation: diversion of water from its naturally occurring source </li></ul><ul...
Contemporary Industrialized Agriculture <ul><li>Emerged after WWII in U.S.  </li></ul><ul><li>and other industrialized cou...
Contemporary Industrialized Agriculture <ul><li>Highly productive but also: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inefficient:  takes mass...
Case Study: Mountains and Water: The Traditional Agricultural System Along South Costal China <ul><li>The traditional Chin...
Case Study: Mountains and Water: The Traditional Agricultural System Along South Costal China <ul><li>Feng Shui  (F ŭ ng S...
Case Study: Mountains and Water: The Traditional Agricultural System Along South Costal China <ul><li>System feeds more pe...
Case Study: The Maya Agricultural System <ul><li>The Maya have lived in a rainforest environment in Mesoamerica for severa...
The Maya  Intensive Agricultural System <ul><li>Four major approaches were utilized to create a sustainable intensive agri...
The Maya  Intensive Agricultural System <ul><li>The ancient Maya culture and agricultural system eventually collapsed arou...
Contemporary Yucatec Maya <ul><li>On a smaller horticultural scale the present day Maya of the Yucatan Peninsula continue ...
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Ecological Anthropology Intensive Agriculture

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Ecological Anthropology Intensive Agriculture

  1. 1. Ecological Anthropology: Intensive Agriculture <ul><li>Chapter Nine, pages 251-289 in Introduction to Cultural Ecology by Mark Sutton and E.N. Anderson Chapter Nine </li></ul>
  2. 2. Intensive Agriculture <ul><li>Large scale complex system of farming and animal husbandry </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Significant shift in scale and scope of agriculture and the relationship between the people of a culture and their environment </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Intensive Agriculture: Worldview <ul><li>Some intensive agricultural societies develop a worldview that they are not bound by nature, that they are above the natural world and that it can be controlled and conquered </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“Flawed” view [epistemology], all cultures are integrated within their environment and none escape the consequences of their actions unless they relocate or exploit other places through trade or conquest, i.e., [colonization] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>[Perception and thinking are active and action passively follows] </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Changes in Scale <ul><li>Major difference between horticulture and intensive agriculture is that of scale </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Intensive agriculturalists generally: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cultivate larger quantities of land </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on fewer species – stable carbohydrate source, usually a tuber (potato) or grain (wheat) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Rely more on animals and machines for labor </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Have larger populations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Increase in social complexity – the State </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Incompatible with other food systems, replaces them </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Greater impact on the environment </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Intensive Agriculture Techniques <ul><li>Irrigation: diversion of water from its naturally occurring source </li></ul><ul><li>Dry farming: performing agriculture without irrigation (84%) </li></ul><ul><li>Supplementation: utilizing to varying degrees, hunting and gathering, horticulture, and pastoralism </li></ul>
  6. 6. Contemporary Industrialized Agriculture <ul><li>Emerged after WWII in U.S. </li></ul><ul><li>and other industrialized countries </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Only a few specialized crops predominate, i.e.,corn & soybeans </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Entire ecosystems altered: forests and prairies removed, rivers rerouted, lakes drained, cultures absorbed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Machines powered by fossil fuel do labor, 3 to 1 total energy loss in terms of input to output calories </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fertility of fields is maintained by chemical fertilizers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hazards to crops controlled by chemical pesticides, fungicides, herbicides [From WWII chemical warfare] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Large scale storage facilities and complex transportation network </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Contemporary Industrialized Agriculture <ul><li>Highly productive but also: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inefficient: takes massive inputs of water, chemicals, and fossil fuel (increase in cost makes entire system susceptible to collapse) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Polluting: increases turbidity of water and hypoxia, while decreasing plant and animal habitat and biodiversity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Non-sustainable: Seen as superior by transnational corporations and Occidental educated elites to traditional agricultural systems, replaced to the peril of long-term economic and environmental sustainability </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Case Study: Mountains and Water: The Traditional Agricultural System Along South Costal China <ul><li>The traditional Chinese rice agricultural system: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Flourishes through the interaction of well-watered mountains, stream feed valleys, and traditional Chinese culture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Highly productive: feeds 2/3 of China’s population, creates 1/3 of world’s rice and most of its pigs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many diverse food sources utilized: i.e.,rice, corn, sweet potatoes, peanuts, seafood, many fruits, and other vegetables </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sustainable: in place for thousands of years </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Case Study: Mountains and Water: The Traditional Agricultural System Along South Costal China <ul><li>Feng Shui (F ŭ ng Shw ā y): means wind and water </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A broad system of ideas and practices through which humans fit into their environment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Land and crop management to maximize the benefits of wind and water often in consonance with contemporary scientific ecological principles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Regulates through placement the interaction of landscape alterations, i.e. roads, fields, towns, forests </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Magical and religious persuasion, beliefs of good or evil fortune inhibit, short-term gain at long-term ecological expense, i.e, mountain erosion = “cut the dragons pulse” </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Case Study: Mountains and Water: The Traditional Agricultural System Along South Costal China <ul><li>System feeds more people per unit of area than any other on earth </li></ul><ul><li>Labor and environmental knowledge intensively used as opposed to Occident’s use of high-tech machines and knowledge of chemical input </li></ul><ul><li>Chinese government encouraged human labor, now being discouraged as Occidental agriculture is adopted for short-term productively increase with long-term ecological consequences ignored </li></ul>
  11. 11. Case Study: The Maya Agricultural System <ul><li>The Maya have lived in a rainforest environment in Mesoamerica for several thousand years (since 4000 B.P.) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For approximately a thousand years (2000-1000 B.P.) the Maya had a complex state-level society with a large population sustained by the practice of intensive agriculture in a rainforest environment </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. The Maya Intensive Agricultural System <ul><li>Four major approaches were utilized to create a sustainable intensive agricultural system </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Agroforestry: a complex system of orchards integrated into the larger forest </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Terraced gardens: a large number of terraced gardens ringed sloping hillsides </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chinampas: a complex system of water gardens were formed with canals running between them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wild species were cultivated through environmental manipulation, i.e., deer, fish, turtles </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. The Maya Intensive Agricultural System <ul><li>The ancient Maya culture and agricultural system eventually collapsed around 1100 B.P </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Deforestation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Erosion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shortening of swidden cycles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Silting of chinampas </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Population growth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Warfare </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>European diseases </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Contemporary Yucatec Maya <ul><li>On a smaller horticultural scale the present day Maya of the Yucatan Peninsula continue to practice sustainable rainforest agriculture </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Effort is underway to record and preserve their traditional knowledge so sustainable intensive agriculture in a rainforest can be again developed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>This includes appreciation of the “passive” environmental management of ceremonies, such as praying to the rain and forest Gods [sacred unity] </li></ul></ul></ul>

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