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Unformatted text preview: Boserup's Theory of Agricultural Intensification Major alternative to "intensification = progress" view offered by Boserup in her book on The Conditions of Agricultural Growth (1965) Recall Boserup's argument that classification of agricultural systems by fallow length = historical or evolutionary sequence involving increased productivity per unit land, a process termed intensification Essence of Boserup's argument can be summarized in terms of 3 axioms & 6 corollaries): I. Environmental limits on type of agriculture are relatively "elastic" (flexible, broad) 1. Any region has broad limits of productivity ("elastic carrying capacity"), set by technology and cropping methods 2. People choose among available methods & degree of intensification (they are not strictly limited by knowledge, especially in the long run) II. Increased production/area usually leads to decreased yield / labor 3. Most means of intensification have major costs: These include shorter fallow (resulting in declining soil fertility), fertilizer application (to...
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- Fall '10