- The sustainability of terrestrial food production systems is influenced by socio-political, economic and ecological factors.
- Consumers have a role to play through their support of different terrestrial food production systems.
- The supply of food is inequitably available and land suitable for food production is unevenly distributed among societies, and this can lead to conflict and concerns.
Knowledge and understanding:
- The sustainability of terrestrial food production systems is influenced by factors such as scale; industrialization; mechanization; fossil fuel use; seed, crop and livestock choices; water use; fertilizers; pest control; pollinators; antibiotics; legislation; and levels of commercial versus subsistence food production.
- Inequalities exist in food production and distribution around the world.
- Food waste is prevalent in both LEDCs and more economically developed countries (MEDCs), but for different reasons.
- Socio-economic, cultural, ecological, political and economic factors can be seen to influence societies in their choices of food production systems.
- As the human population grows, along with urbanization and degradation of soil resources, the availability of land for food production per capita decreases.
- The yield of food per unit area from lower trophic levels is greater in quantity, lower in cost and may require fewer resources.
- Cultural choices may influence societies to harvest food from higher trophic levels.
- Terrestrial food production systems can be compared and contrasted according to inputs, outputs, system characteristics, environmental impact and socio- economic factors.
- Increased sustainability may be achieved through:
- altering human activity to reduce meat consumption and increase consumption of organically grown and locally produced terrestrial food products
- improving the accuracy of food labels to assist consumers in making informed food choices
- monitoring and control of the standards and practices of multinational and national food corporations by governmental and intergovernmental bodies
- planting of buffer zones around land suitable for food production to absorb nutrient runoff.
Applications and skills:
- Analyse tables and graphs that illustrate the differences in inputs and outputs associated with food production systems.
- Compare and contrast the inputs, outputs and system characteristics for two given food production systems.
- Evaluate the relative environmental impacts of two given food production systems.
- Discuss the links that exist between socio-cultural systems and food production systems.
- Evaluate strategies to increase sustainability in terrestrial food production systems.
- Food choices can be influenced by culture, religion or regional food production differences.
Theory of knowledge:
- Consumer behaviour plays an important role in food production systems—are there general laws that can describe human behaviour?
- Environmental value systems (1.1)
- Flows of energy and matter (2.3)
- Communities and ecosystems (2.2)
- Investigating ecosystems (2.5)
- Threats to biodiversity (3.3)
- Water pollution (4.4)
- Introduction to soil systems (5.1)
- Soil degradation and conservation (5.3)
- Resource use in society (8.2)
- Solid domestic waste (8.3)
- Human population carrying capacity (8.4)