Geographia Polonica (1970) vol. 19

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The Phenomena, Functioning Units and Systems of Agriculture

Clarence W. Olmstead

Geographia Polonica (1970) vol. 19, pp. 31-42

Abstract

At the expense of over-simplification, one may identify several different approaches or emphases which have successively characterized the study of agricultural geography in the United States. These include:

  1. Commodity studies, especially studies of individual crops.
  2. Small-scale studies of crop-land relationships.
  3. Large-scale field studies of agricultural land-use and landscapes.
  4. Studies using the cultural-historical approach, and
  5. Studies using a theoretical-quantitative approach.

I would propose a sixth approach to the geographical study of agriculture, which I will call the systems approach. I believe that it can encompass all of the best objectives and methods of each of the previous approaches. It is a con-ceptual framework designed to accommodate within a single interrelated body of knowledge the comparative study of any or all of the diverse elements and varieties of agriculture that exist in the world.

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Clarence W. Olmstead, Department of Geography University of Wisconsin Madison, Wise. USA