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Chapter 3 Human Processes that Shape World Regions Chapter Objectives This chapter should enable your students to…    

Gain a historical perspective on the capacity of human societies to transform environments and landscapes Understand why some countries are rich and others poor and recognize the geographic distribution of wealth and poverty Explain the simultaneous trends of falling population growth in the richer countries and rapid population growth worldwide Explore the principles of sustainable development

Chapter Outline I.

Two Revolutions that Have Changed the Earth A. Hunting and Gathering B. The Revolutionary Aspects of Farming C. The Industrial Revolution D. Industrialization, Colonization, and Environmental Change


The Geography of Development A. Measuring Development B. Why Are Some Countries Rich and Others Poor? C. Environmental Impacts of Underdevelopment


The Geography of Population A. How Many People Have Ever Lived on Earth? B. How Can We Measure Population Change? C. What Determines Family Size? D. What Determines Death Rates? E. What Determines Population Rate Change? F. Why Has the Human Population “Exploded”? G. The Age Structure Diagram H. Where Do We Live? I. The Geography of Migration J. How Many People Will Live on Earth? K. The Malthusian Scenario L. What is “Overpopulation”?

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Addressing Global Problems A. The Death Rate Solution and Life Boat Ethics B. The Birth Rate Solution and Sustainable Development

Chapter Summary This chapter introduces how people have interacted with their environment to change the face of the Earth. It begins with two revolutions – agricultural and industrial – that have had significant impacts on human subsistence-settlement patterns and population growth, density, and distribution. The chapter also investigates the growing disparity between prosperity and poverty, and presents a variety of solutions that have been proposed to insure a greater quality of life for all. Around the end of the geologic epoch known as the Pleistocene, approximately 10,000 years ago, some human groups began to adapt to their environment in ways heretofore unknown; they became food producers, rather than simply food consumers. Throughout human prehistory, people had been opportunistic hunters and gathers, but in various parts of the world, such as the Zagros Mountains in modern Iran, they domesticated plants and animals. This was revolutionary insofar as a more reliable food supply permitted permanent settlement and the growth of more complex societies. It has rightfully been called the Agricultural Revolution. Around 1750 C.E., the human capacity to transform natural landscapes took another giant leap with the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution originated in Europe, and Europeans began to explore and colonize the rest of the world partly to obtain needed natural resources for their factories. European (and neo-European) societies became wealthy while most colonial areas remained poor. After independence, many former colonies remained poor, or less developed than the more developed countries of Europe and North America. Both LDCs and MDCs suffer from overpopulation (people overpopulation in LDCs, consumer overpopulation in MDCs). Economic disparities are one of the primary reasons for migrations from LDCs to MDCs. Although it is generally incorrect to compare cultures, in many cases it is like comparing apples to oranges and smacks of ethnocentrism, there are a few “yardsticks” that may be used as measures of development. The Human Development Index (HDI), created by the United Nations, is recognized as a reasonable and objective measure of the quality of life in a country. It consists of social, demographic, and economic information, like literacy rate, life expectancy, and gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. Taken as a whole, these give us a good idea of the well being of state-level societies. World population continues to grow, but as LDCs move forward through the demographic transition the global growth rate is slowly dropping as birth rates in LDCs fall. The future trends of LDCs are unclear at this point, with some expressing hope that these countries will follow the MDCs and conquer their growth and food supply problems, while others say catastrophe lies ahead if action is not taken soon. It is hoped

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that sustainable development will improve the quality of life for everyone on the planet while avoiding the Malthusian scenario of population growth outpacing food production. The stimulus for human migration from places of adversity to places of affluence will likely continue as long as there is a perceived distinction between the “haves” and the “have nots.” Geographers have studied the various reasons that prompt people to move permanently from one place to another, and have identified so-called push-pull factors such as religious freedom, political persecution, natural disaster, and economic opportunity. By far, however, economic opportunity is the greatest motivator, and coupled with the increasing ease of international communication and transportation, not to mention the increased demand for low-wage workers in the MDCs, the global demographic pattern will continue to change for the foreseeable future.

Key Terms and Concepts Age of Discovery (p. 42) Age of Exploration (p. 42) age structure diagram (p. 54) Agricultural Revolution (p. 41) asylum (p. 58) biomass (p. 62) birth rate (p. 50) birth rate solution (p. 60) brain drain (p. 59) carrying capacity (p. 41) cash crops (p. 46) civilization (p. 41) commercial crops (p. 46) consumption overpopulation (p. 61) cornucopians (p. 60) culture hearth (p. 41) culture system (p. 57) death rate (p. 50) death rate solution (p. 60) debt-for-nature swap (p. 64) deforestation (p. 48) demographic transition (p. 53) demography (p. 50) dependency theory (p. 45) development (p. 44) digital divide (p. 47) domestication (p. 41) dry farming (p. 41) ecodevelopment (p. 63) ecological bankruptcy (p. 48)

ecological footprint (p. 61) ecologically dominant species (p. 40) emigrant (p. 57) extensive land use (p. 41) external costs (p. 63) externalities (p. 63) feeding levels (p. 62) food chain (p. 62) Food-Producing Revolution (p. 41) foraging (p. 40) fuelwood crisis (p. 48) globalization (p. 47) gross domestic product (GDP) (p. 44) gross national income (GNI) (p. 44) gross national product (GNP) (p. 44) guest worker (p. 59) hot money (p. 47) Human Development Index (HDI) (p. 44) hunting and gathering (p. 40) illegal alien (p. 59) immigrant (p. 57) Industrial Revolution (p. 42) information technology (IT) (p. 47) intensive land use (p. 41) internally displaced persons (IDPs) (p. 58) irrigation (p. 41) knowledge economy (p. 47) less developed countries (LDCs) (p. 43) lifeboat ethics (p. 62) Malthusian scenario (p. 60)

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marginalization (p. 46) mercantile colonialism (p. 45) migration (p. 50) more developed countries (MDCs) (p. 43) multinational companies (p. 47) natural replacement rate (p. 48) natural resource (p. 46) neocolonialism (p. 46) neo-Europes (p. 45) Neolithic Revolution (p. 41) neo-Malthusians (p. 60) newly industrializing countries (NICs) (p. 44) nontimber forest products (NTFPs) (p. 49) nonselective migrants (p. 57) “original affluent society” (p. 40) one-child policy (p. 59) people overpopulation (p. 61) per capita GDP (p. 44) per capita gross national income purchasing power parity (per capita GNI PPP) (p. 44) Pleistocene overkill hypothesis (p. 40) population change rate (p. 51)

population explosion (p. 50) population implosion (p. 54) population pyramid (p. 55) population replacement level (p. 54) positive feedback loop (p. 57) pull factors (p. 57) purchasing power parity (PPP) (p. 44) push factors (p. 57) refugees (p. 57) renewable resource (p. 48) rural-to-urban migration (p. 57) second law of thermodynamics (p. 62) selective migrants (p. 57) settler colonization (p. 45) sustainable development (p. 63) sustainable yield (p. 48) technocentrists (p. 60) “Third Revolution” (p. 64) trade barriers (p. 64) trophic levels (p. 62) urbanization (p. 57) value-added products (p. 45) zero population growth (ZPG) (p. 54)

Answers to Review Questions 1.

The Agricultural Revolution began about 10,000 years ago and was launched with the development of domestication, which greatly increased the power of humans to modify landscapes by controlling the breeding and cultivation of animals and plants. The Industrial Revolution started around the year 1700 and saw rapid advances in technology and the extensive excavation and use of fossil fuels. The Industrial Revolution eventually led to the carrying capacity for humans raised into the billions by tapping that fossil fuel energy, while also greatly expanding croplands and urban areas at the expense of forests and other natural landscapes. [pp. 40-42]


More developed countries (MDCs) typically have higher percentages of urban dwellers, larger energy use, longer life expectancies, higher per capita incomes, larger middle classes, a bigger percentage of their economies based on manufacturing, and higher literacy rates than less developed countries (LDCs). LDCs often have higher birth and death rates than MDCs, as well as higher population growth rates, less leisure time available, larger percentages of

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population under fifteen, and larger percentages of people living in rural areas. [p. 44] 3.

Dependency theory posits that most LDCs continue to remain poor and underdeveloped because economic patterns established during the Industrial Revolution, especially economic domination by the MDCs over their former colonies, continues to this day. Some geographers see dependency theory as too simplistic and politicized, and offer other reasons why disparities between MDCs and LDCs persist. These explanations are based on a more complex set of factors including culture, location, natural environment, and local economic issues in the LDCs. [p. 45]


The fuelwood crisis is deforestation in LDCs caused by subsistence needs. When people remove trees for their crops, existing croplands lose protection against wind, which can erode away the topsoil, leading to raised floodplain levels and the increased chance of flooding. Less water is available to those crops as tree roots help funnel water into the soil. Increased runoff usually means higher salinity in the water, so the quality of downstream drinking and irrigation water declines. And more trees cut down for croplands means fewer trees available for human wood and energy needs. [pp. 48-49]


The two types of overpopulation are people overpopulation and consumption overpopulation. Consumption overpopulation is characteristic of the MDCs, and is a symptom of relatively few people each using a large amount of natural resources from around the world, stressing the environment. People overpopulation is largely found in LDCs, and involves a large number of people each taking a relatively small amount of natural resources for their livelihoods; these small amounts collectively have an enormous impact on the environment, which may not be able to support that many people. [p. 61]


The world has seen an enormous increase in human population since the Industrial Revolution, mainly from a sharp decline in death rates, and particularly in less developed countries. Birth rates in those countries remained relatively high. [p. 51]


The first stage of the demographic transition is sometimes called the preindustrial stage, where both birth rates and death rates were high, and so population growth was negligible. In the second (transitional) stage, birth rates remain high but death rates drop sharply. In the third (industrial) stage, death rates remain low, and birth rates start falling. In the final (postindustrial) stage, both birth and death rates are low, once again resulting in negligible population growth. Death rates begin dropping in the second phase because of medical, agricultural and other technological advances brought forth by the Industrial Revolution, letting people live longer and healthier lives than before. As affluence spreads among the general population in the third stage, birth rates begin to drop as the need to have

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many children to support a family lessens. This trend is cemented in the fourth stage, leading to little (if any) natural population growth. [p. 54] 8.

The world region with the most number of people is Monsoon Asia (chapter 7), particularly the sub-regions of South Asia (module 7.1) and China (module 7.3). The most vacant land spaces on the planet are found in Antarctica (module 8.1), Siberian Russia (chapter 5), and the Saharan portion of Africa (chapter 6). Important factors for large dense populations in China and South Asia include climate and soils that permit viable subsistence agriculture. Obviously, frigid and arid places have historically been inhospitable to humans. Interestingly, the world’s largest region – Oceania – has the fewest people, a function of the small land to water ratio of the South Pacific. [pp. 55-57]


The difference between technocentrists and neo-Malthusians vis-à-vis the balance between people and resources is that the former are optimistic and the latter pessimistic in their concern over human population growth. Technocentrists, as the name suggests, believe that technology has always been able to save humankind and that new, as yet unrealized, solutions will be found in terms of increasing the earth’s “carrying capacity.” Neo-Malthusians, on the other hand, echo Thomas Malthus (1766-1834), who argued that our ability to breed will exceed our ability to feed. [p. 60]


Garrett Hardin’s “lifeboats” represent wealthy countries, which are surrounded by “swimmers” representing residents of, or refugees from, poor countries. Hardin’s metaphor between the boats and swimmers is to analyze how (or even if) residents of rich countries should aid poorer countries by sending food and other aid to them. [pp. 62-63]


Proponents of sustainable development, defined by the World Conservation Union as “improving the quality of human life while living within the carrying capacity of supporting systems” insist that the actual cost of production behind a country’s GDP include the many external costs like environmental degradation and resource depletion. The argument for sustainable development states that both MDCs and LDCs alike need to change their priorities from short-term gain to long-term viability. [pp. 63-64]

Test bank world regional geography 6th edition hobbs  

test bank world regional geography 6th edition hobbs. Full file at

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