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Unit 6: The Bare Necessities: Land and Food
Chapters 10+11
Friday 2/8
All human activities require land, and our societies have spread to every corner of the globe. In this unit,
we will investigate the major demands humans place on the limited amount of land on Earth and what
environmental impacts these demands cause. We will pay special attention to agriculture, and how
various practices can harm or benefit the environment. As always, our focus will remain on evaluating
the impact of human activities on environmental systems and finding sustainable practices.
Essential Questions:
1) What are humanity’s demands on Earth’s land resources, and what limits exist on those resources?
2) What organizations and policies can promote sustainable land use, and how?
3) What practices characterize modern industrial agriculture, and what are its benefits and drawbacks?
4) How can we reduce the impact of agriculture on the environment and promote sustainability?
Major Topics:
Tragedy of the Commons – Externalities – Maximum Sustainable Yield – Public Lands – International &
US Public Lands – Rangelands – Forests – Fire Management – National Parks – Wildlife Refuges &
Wilderness Areas – Federal Regulation – Residential Land Use – Urban Sprawl – Smart Growth – Human
Nutrition – Malnutrition/Hunger – The Green Revolution – Industrial Agriculture – Genetic Engineering –
Sustainable Agriculture – Integrated Pest Management – High-Density Animal Farming – Fish & Shellfish
 Explain how the tragedy of the commons and maximum sustainable yield affect land use.
 Describe the functions and operations of the four major US public land management agencies.
 Describe the approaches and policies necessary to ensure sustainable land use.
 Analyze the causes and consequences of urban sprawl.
 Describe human nutritional needs and the challenges of overcoming hunger and malnutrition.
 Analyze the development, practices and consequences of modern industrialized agriculture.
 Evaluate the benefits and costs of using genetically modified organisms in agriculture.
 Describe alternatives to industrial agriculture.
 Explain the environmental impacts of various approaches to raising/harvesting meat & fish.