Human Adaptation and the Environment Essay

Submitted By RossiGirl01
Words: 920
Pages: 4

Societies make a living based on the anthropological typology known as subsistence strategies, which is defined as the way societies transform environmental resources into food. The main ways those societies make a living are foraging, pastoralism, horticulture, agriculture, and industrialism. Starting with the strategy of foraging anthropologist look at how the use of plants and animal resources that are freely available within the society’s environment are consumed and utilized. Foraging does not produce food and does not alter the surroundings thus they have little impact on their environment. Living in small communities Foragers have to be able to move with the seasons and are limited to the possessions they can transport. The second strategy is pastoralism which involves the domestications of herd animals for dairy or meat, and this societies conforms to this way of living due to the climate or terrain which makes it unsuitable for foraging or agriculture. These groups of people are usually small and raise livestock on grass instead of grain. Two types of pastoralism include Transhumant which involves permanent villages with men taking livestock to pastures while the women and children remain in the village, and the other is nomadic where the entire population of the society moves with the herd with no permanent village. The third strategy is the use of horticulture and how the production of plants keeps the society functioning. Using nonmechanized technology the people of these societies produce less yield of crops but also use less human labor. Swidden cultivation involves clearing trees and burning the brush to fertilize the land, and the difference from agriculture is horticulture allows fields to lie fallow for long periods of time to regain minerals. Agriculture uses more advanced techniques to cultivate the land using animals, plows, and water control. The land is permanently cultivated and needs no time to lie fallow, and this allows the land to be used year after year. Higher populations are supported but needs more labor to make a piece of land productive. Surplus is created so that more people can make use of the products from the fields. Lastly industrialism is used to produce food and other goods with the use of machine technology and chemicals. Populations increase drastically and thus the consumptions of goods and food also increase. Consumptions of these goods must continue and spread fitting into the idea of creating a global network of resources or globalization. Poverty punishes the people while success allows for more consumption of those goods.
Together each of these strategies combine to form social organizations and cultural patterns. Foraging and pastoralism share the patterns of searching for food, yet unlike foraging for food and meat for the society pastoralism searches for grass and land to feed their herd. Both these types of strategies involve movement of people and tools to continue the growth of the society. Just like the nomadic pastoralism strategy, foraging for food involves continually moving and following the animals through the seasons. Horticulture and Agriculture compare greatly due to cultivating the land and producing food for the society. Both these types of strategies involve permanent villages and tend to stay in a close vicinity to their fields. Horticulture does have some cross over to pastoralism due to raising domestic animals for the nutrients that cannot be grown in the field. Agriculture and industrialism are closely related because of the mechanized tools used to create products. Although agriculture is strictly plant based production and industrialism involves the production of food and goods.…