Geography- Rural Environments

About The Changing Rural Environments topic in AQA Geography A

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  • Created by: Sam
  • Created on: 06-06-12 13:43

Rural-Urban Fringe

The R-U fringe is under pressure because of urban sprawl (rapid growth). The main demands on the land are for retail development (e.g.out of town shops), leisure( e.g. golf courses) , transport (e.g a ring road) and residental (e.g.housing estates).

Suburbanised Villages are villages that have grown in recent decades to have housing estateswith more recent residents than long term ones. They are usually in the rural-urban fringe and usually grow because they have access both to the city as well as the countryside.

The growth happens in stages: First, a few new individual houses are added, then, Linear development takes place along the main roads and lastly, land between roads is filled with housing developments.

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Social and Economic changes in remote rural areas

Locations of remote areas are usually to do with the physical geography of the area e.g upland, hill farming areas like Snowdonia.

Rural depopoulation is happening in Snowdonia where more people move out than in. Farmers don't earn very much so the job isn't sought after, competative prices from abroad cannot be competed with. Some farmers have diversified to provide a second income.

Young adults move into cities for higher education and once educated the best job oppurtunities are in the cities.

Houses cannot be built within the park and an increasing amount are bought as second homes reducing the amount of local services used and raising house prices so that young people from the area cannot afford to buy there.

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How can rural living be made sustainable?

There are several government schemes:

Environmental Stewardship scheme- open to farmers, gives from £30-£60 pounds per hectare per year to improve natural environment eg increase biodiversity.

Rural Development programmes- again mostly used to help farmers live sustainably but also goes into other areas like forestry + creating more job oppurtunities

Rural Transport Partnership- Funds transport schemes eg moped loans for 16+

Village Shop Development Scheme- aims to help local services stay open as they provide employment and save locals time/energy.

Rural Challenge- 11 regeneration schemes in the 1990s to generate jobs and improve living standards

EU schemes as well.

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  • Use of chemicals increase yields but can kill wildlife and eutrophication(+costs)
  • Ecosystems are lost as habitats like hedgerows are damaged (also leads to soil erosion). Wetlands can also be destroyed.
  • More likely to use GM crops, there are many issues here, some people worry that genes will transfer into surrounding plants damaging the eco-system.

Supermarkets have a huge influence on farming. They want the product for the cheapest price possible to make the most profit which causes the farmer to lose out. They need to use intensive farming methods to get the most out of the land.

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Organic Farming

Method of Agriculture relying on crop rotation, compost and biological pest control.

Generally thought to be more sustainable as it causes less damage to the environment but as a consequence yields are much lower.

The amount of organic farming is growing. Manual Labour on organic farms can produce jobs.

Dairy production is a major production of greenhouse emissions mainly methane and organic cows produce more than non-organic cows.

Both intensive and organic farms benefit from the Environmental Stewardship scheme.

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Cash-crop production

Most poor countries are in debt. Cash-crops provide a way to use land to make money relativly quickly for little cost. The crops are exported for money which can benefit the country as a whole as well as those invloved.

Kenya has one of the oldest and largest flower industries. Millions of roses are flown from Kenya to Europe every year.

Kenya has large flower farms inside greenhouses that provides jobs for tens of thousands of people but the wage is £1 per day which is only just above the global poverty line and there is no insurance of the job if say you become pregnant then you lose the job.

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Forestry, Mining and soil erosion

Shifting cultivation is traditional in the Amazon Rainforest and is very sustainable but soil does take 20 years to regenerate so a lot of land is needed. The people who farm this way have no legal rights and the government can sell land. One land is cleared the ecosystem breaksdown, the soil loses its structure and is easily washed away ruining the land forever.

The governments need to sell the land so that cash crops can be grown or precious minerals can be mined to bring income into the country. Roads in the forest also cause damage as they bisect the forest splitting up the habitats. Cattle-ranching cause 60% of the deforestation.

Soil erosion can be increased by other activities such as ploughing, overgrazing, inadequate Irrigation systems etc. Methods to solve problems can be Afforestation, ***** cultivation (alternate crops), contour ploughing and smaller herds to reduce overgrazing.

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Irrigation is artifical means of watering the land. This dramatically increases the yeild and increase use will be needed to feed the world's increasing population.

Irrigation does have problems such as Salinisation (increased salt content of soil) as the water evaporates too quickly leaving concentrated salts behind. Some soultions to this are expensive the cheapest is to change the land use to grasses that are salt resistant while the salts slowly get washed away with the rains.

Africa has the least irrigation of the whole world (5% of the average)

Drip irrigation is where water flows slowly through pipes laid out in the field dripping out of holes in the pipes soaking in gradually. A sprinkler system will pump water to a central location of the field the sprinkler destribute water to the crops this is mainly used in MEDC's because it is expensive to set up and run so is inappropriate technology for poorer countries.

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