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AGRICULTURAL INTENSIFICATION Introduction Just as shift from H-G systems to agricultural ones was traditionally viewed as product of increasing knowledge and cultural "progress," so historical progression toward more intensive and productive agricultural systems has been viewed as inevitable result of increasing knowledge and technological abilities Thus, orthodox view long held that development of intensive forms of agriculture could be attributed to major technical inventions (metal tools, terracing, the plow, oxen teams) or to increased knowledge (fertilizing, breeding of draft animals or more productive forms of crops) However, traditional view of agricultural intensification as "progress" has been strongly criticized: 1. Many intensive systems based on simple tools and hand labor 2. intensive systems not always adopted even when readily available (e.g., persistence of swiddeners, resistance to imported schemes of agricultural "development")
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Unformatted text preview: 3. instances of "reversion" to less intensive systems have been documented (discussed below) Yet evidence indicates that degree of agricultural intensification is correlated with technological and socioeconomic complexity, as summarized in following table: Table 2. Contrasts between extensive and intensive agricultural systems. Characteristics Extensive Systems Intensive Systems Fallow length Long Short Productivity Low High Efficiency High Variable but lower Population density Low High Technology Simple Often complex Fertilizing of soil None or little Lots Land tenure Communal ownership Individual/family Economic systems Usually subsistence Usually market Sociopolitical complexity Generally less Generally greater If not increased knowledge and cultural "progress," then what accounts for this pattern?...
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This note was uploaded on 11/22/2011 for the course ANT ANT2000 taught by Professor Monicaoyola during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.

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