Geography (Cycle One)

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Agricultural territory

Agricultural territory subject to natural hazards

Agricultural territory is associated with a vital need ─ food. It is often threatened by urban expansion and can also be a source of environmental problems because of certain practices. Two types of agricultural territory are studied: agricultural territory in a national space and agricultural territory subject to natural hazards.

A.   Agricultural territory in a national space

The agricultural territory of a national space consists of all its farming regions. It is sometimes necessary to create laws to protect it and ensure that other forms of land use do not reduce the area devoted to farming. However, certain farming practices also exert pressure on the environment and threaten the global food equilibrium.

Two of the three agricultural territories suggested in the program must be studied. The first, the agricultural territory of Québec, is compulsory. Teachers may choose the second from among the following: the agricultural territory of Japan and the agricultural territory of California. Cycle teams may determine in what year each agricultural territory will be studied; it is recommended, however, that the content be spread out over the two years of the cycle.

The concepts prescribed by the program are not described using specific statements. It is by using all of the knowledge related to a territory that students develop their understanding of the following concepts: distribution, national agricultural space, environment, equity, exploitation, marketing, farming practice, productivity and rurality.


Student constructs knowledge with teacher guidance.

Student applies knowledge by the end of the school year.


Student reinvests knowledge.

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  1. Location of an agricultural territory in a national space
    1. Locates the agricultural territory studied in the appropriate continent and country
    1. Locates the main agricultural territories on a map of the world (e.g. the Great Plains of North America, the Pampas of Argentina, the Great Russian Plain, the basins of Western Europe, Southeast Asia, Western Australia)
  1. Characteristics of an agricultural territory in a national space
    1. Explains the location of the main agricultural areas in the territory studied (e.g. in Japan, the agricultural territory of each island is located mainly on narrow coastal plains and along mountainsides because of the country’s hilly topography)
    1. Establishes the relative size of the territory devoted to agriculture in the territory studied (e.g. in 2005, the agricultural territory of Québec accounted for 2% of the national territory and that of Japan, for approximately 13% of the national territory)
    1. Indicates the natural factors that influence the location of the agricultural territory studied (e.g. soil fertility, length of growing season, precipitation regime, latitude and altitude in Québec)
    1. Lists the main agricultural products (crops) of the territory studied (e.g. rice, potatoes, fruit in Japan; vegetables, fruit, nuts, cotton, vines in California)
    1. Establishes the proportion of the labour force employed in agriculture in the territory studied (e.g. in 2009, 5% of the population in Japan; 2% of the population in California)
    1. Identifies problems that affect farmers in the territory studied (e.g. finding workers, attracting potential successors, obtaining a fair price for agricultural products in Québec)
  1. Planning and development of an agricultural territory in a national space
    1. Names the main type of farming practices used in the agricultural territory studied (e.g. intensive farming practices used on small farms in Japan)
    1. Establishes a connection between certain characteristics of the climate and the infrastructure of the agricultural territory studied (e.g. the desert climate of central California makes it necessary to construct dams and develop irrigation systems; Québec’s harsh winter conditions make it necessary to build greenhouses to ensure year-round supply of certain vegetables)
    1. Indicates infrastructure used to increase the productivity of the agricultural territory studied (e.g. irrigation canals in California; dams to control water levels in rice paddies in Japan)
  1. Issues affecting an agricultural territory or territories in a national space
    1. Explains consequences of certain farming practices for the environment (e.g. intensive fruit tree cultivation requires the use of strong fertilizers, which contributes to soil nutrient depletion; annual irrigation of vegetable crops requires large amounts of water, which reduces groundwater levels)
    1. Indicates infrastructure in place in agricultural areas of the territory studied (e.g. highway extension, industrial warehouses, sports centres and urban sprawl in California)
    1. Names laws adopted to protect farming and restrict the development of non-agricultural activities in rural areas in the territory studied (e.g. Act respecting the Preservation of agricultural land and agricultural activities in Québec; Farm Land Protection Policy Act in California)
    1. Indicates measures taken to limit the environmental impact of farming practices (e.g. passing laws to regulate farming practices; defining riparian strips; reforesting shorelines)
    1. Indicates solutions to problems affecting farmers in the territory studied (e.g. to compensate for the shortage of agricultural workers in Québec, employment programs have been established to allow farmers to hire seasonal workers from Mexico)
    1. Explains how certain agricultural practices affect the global food equilibrium (e.g. the use of corn and wheat in biofuel production has caused food crises and raised the price of flour worldwide)

Agricultural territory subject to natural hazards

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