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Balancing on a PlanetThe Future of Food and Agriculture$
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David A. Cleveland

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780520277410

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520277410.001.0001

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Agricultural Revolutions

Agricultural Revolutions

(p.47) Two Agricultural Revolutions
Balancing on a Planet

David A. Cleveland

University of California Press

The transition from foraging to agriculture—the Neolithic revolution—began about twelve thousand years ago. It changed three basic human relationships—with other species, the environment, and other humans. Through crop domestication, humans controlled the evolution of other species. Domestication makes plants dependent on humans, necessitating the second change—increased management of ecosystems for crop plants. The third change was in society and culture to support agriculture, leading eventually to cities, occupational specialization, and greater material wealth and social inequity. Subsequent revolutions advanced basic Neolithic changes, including the global spread of agriculture; the increase in fossil energy, manufactured fertilizers, and machinery with the industrial and scientific revolutions; the Green Revolution, which spread industrial agriculture to the Third World; and the biotechnology revolution.

Keywords:   Neolithic revolution, crop domestication, ecosystems management, society, culture, global revolution, scientific revolution, industrial revolution, Green Revolution, biotechnology revolution

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