Wood___Roberts_2011_Tradional_Economic_G

J ust as a c oncentric ring pattern o f different l

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Unformatted text preview: del, the same pattern appeared in early models o f u rban land use (Figure 2.3). Thus, T hilnen's m odel, while originally developed for examining agricultural land use i n early nineteenth century G ermany c ontained a n umber o f f oundational insights t hat have influenced n ot j ust o ur u nderstanding o f t he geographies o f agriculture b ut o f l and use m ore broadly. 19 I 11 I1· ' I II !Iil 18 TRADITIONAL LOCATION THEORY TRADITIONAL ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHIES I1'1'1 ;'1 'i , '111 1. 11 IIII III' 1111\1 11 11 CJ ~ CJ Free cash cropping Forestry Crop alternation system ." rn Il Improved system Three-field system D Stock farming 1 \1 II'II! Fig I I !I II ; 11'1 ,11 \ 1 I [I. I::1 ' I! Fig II :111:: ! II Miles 1,1 J Ilill l o 40 I Figure 2 .2 The isolated state Source: based o n Thiinen 1966: 216. I I \,1 1 1 :11 p attern because Thilnen assumes t hat t ransport costs by water are one tenth o f the cost o f land freight (1966: 215). T he d iagram indicates c oncentric rings o f v arying w idths a round t he t own, each c ontaining a d ifferent agricultural use. The rings, their definition a nd c ontent, were derived from applying calculative logic based o n t he concept o fland r ent b ut s upplemented by other considera­ tions such as soil fertility. T hilnen identified six rings: First ring: H ere 'free cash cropping' will occur. This is e ssentially w hat w e k now as m arket g ardening: t he c ultivation o f ' delicate' fruits a nd vegetables such as strawberries a nd lettuce. Thilnen also assigned dairying to this ring. Milk production, h e reasoned, is c omplementary to market gardening as c attle can be kept intensively ­ eating c ut clover a nd left over vegetables i n stalls rather t han n eeding extensive grazing pastures. The l and r ent in this ring is h igh and, w ith t he application o f a dditional manure, soil fertility can be raised, eliminating the need for fallow periods. Second ring: This is t he zone o f forestry in which w ood a nd charcoal for fuel a nd t imber for urban construction are sourced from managed forests. I n T hilnen's time, wood was the major fuel for townspeople as well as those i n t he c ountryside. T hird ring: This is a relatively narrow ring in w hich d ie 'crop alternation system' prevails. Grain crops (such as rye) a nd feed crops (such as clover) alternate a nd t here is n o fallow period. The soil is e nriched t hrough the applica­ tion o f m anure. Thilnen spent a considerable part o f his b ook discussing the various systems o f c rop alterna­ tion e merging i n n orthern E urope a nd p redicted t hat over time innovative crop rotation systems w ould be widespread. I n t he initial model, though, they occupy a small band. F ourth ring: The ' improved system' is p racticed i n this ring. Here, arable l and is used in t urn for grain a nd r oot crop cultivation a nd for pasture. Fields are periodically left fallow a nd fertilized w ith m anure. Fifth ring: Here the traditional three-field system is prevalent. Fields rotate from arable to pasture to fallow. Sixth ring: Stock farming. This ring is t oo far from the town for grain cultivation as t he t ransport costs w ould o utweigh revenue generated from its sale (see Figure 2.1). However, T hilnen p oints o ut t hat i f t he g rain were distilled a nd c onverted to a lcohol- a higher value product - it could be transported profitably to market. Further­ more, in this zone by-products o f the distilleries could be used for animal feed. Animals are grazed extensively i n this zone, w ith t heir wool a nd m eat sold i n t he t own . Thilnen predicted t hat as t he e conomy prospered, working m en a nd w omen w ould increase their c onsumption o f m eat i nstead o f relying o n p otatoes o r rye bread for their n utrition , a nd d eemed this to be a positive development since, he reasoned, it w ould lessen the likelihood o f a serious famine. Thilnen's isolated state was thus, in part, a n ideal world i n w hich the Malthusian specter o f famine c ould be left b ehind b y the a doption o f r ational agricultural practices. Beyond the sixth ring, Thilnen argued, cultivation ceases as t ransport costs (among others) exceed l and r ent. This is a z one in w hich ' a few hunters roam', 'living virtually like savages' (1966: 157). Beyond this ring is ' uninhabited wilderness.' The boundaries o f each ring a nd the extent o f the rings are d etermined b y the prevailing price o f the staple crop - assumed to be grain (in G ermany i t was rye) - and soil fertility levels. Thilnen also allowed for transition zones where the rings w ould s hade i nto o ne a nother a t their margins. T hilnen r ecognized t hat i n r eality farmers' decisions were influenced considerably by soil quality a nd b y the vagaries o f taxes, a nd h e spent m uch o f his b ook discussing such concerns. H e also understood t hat farmers were n ot privy to complete knowledge a nd observed t hat a ny c hange in farming practices usually followed some period o f inertia: i n t he w orld a round us the local farming system is never the fruit o f a n all-embracing recognition o f e verything o f relevance. I t is t he piecemeal w ork o f c enturies a nd generations; i t has become w hat i t is by slow, continuous improvements a n...
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