AP Human Geography : Subsistence

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Human Geography

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Agriculture, Food Production, & Rural Land Use

Swidden agriculture is a form of subsistence agriculture that is defined by which of the following activities?

Possible Answers:

Flooding a piece of land to stimulate growth

Growing one crop exclusively in all fields

Rotating crops between different fields depending on the season

Planting multiple crops in one plot of land

Cutting down trees and lighting the remaining plants on fire

Correct answer:

Cutting down trees and lighting the remaining plants on fire

Explanation:

"Swidden" or "slash-and-burn" agriculture is a form of subsistence farming practiced all over the world, although it is most widely found in tropical regions such as Amazonia. One of the oldest forms of agriculture, swidden involves clearing the forestation and growth in a desired field with axes, then burning the stumps to eliminate obstructions and enhance the soil. This practice has harmful effects of rainforests in which it is practiced and does not produce high yield for its farmers, causing ecological and economic problems.

Example Question #2 : Agriculture, Food Production, & Rural Land Use

Which of the following is a subsistence crop?

Possible Answers:

Corn

Papyrus

Cotton

Tobacco

Rubber

Correct answer:

Corn

Explanation:

Corn is the only subsistence crop of the presented options. Tobacco, cotton, and rice are all high intensive plantation crops. Tobacco, cotton, rubber, and papyrus are also not edible, therefore disqualifying them from being considered subsistence crops.

Example Question #3 : Rural Land Use & Settlement Patterns

Which of these most accurately describes subsistence agriculture?

Possible Answers:

A local farmer only grows corn; his family consumes some of the corn, but he sells more than half of his crop of corn in a farmer's market.

A farmer has only one cow; he trades some of the cow's milk for vegetables at the market.

A small farm is run solely by the family and most (or all) crops produced are consumed by the family.

An extensive farm with many outside workers produces crops for the entire town.

A small family tends an herb garden, and all of the herbs are used to flavor their home-cooked meals.

Correct answer:

A small farm is run solely by the family and most (or all) crops produced are consumed by the family.

Explanation:

Subsistence agriculture involves food production mainly for the family. A farmer will grow most everything that the family would consume, and anything leftover will go to the local community rather than to a big market.

Example Question #2 : Agriculture, Food Production, & Rural Land Use

Which of the following crops is a subsistence crop?

Possible Answers:

Cotton 

Ginger

Cocoa

Rice

Acai berries

Correct answer:

Rice

Explanation:

By definition, a subsistence crop is a crop that is grown primarily for the purpose of feeding/sustaining farmers and their families, with any surplus going towards trade. Of the following answer choices, rice is the only one that can be characterized as a subsistence crop, as rice is a staple food in many agricultural regions. 

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