Geographic Investigation

You will now investigate two different examples of non-subsistence types of farming.


Soy Production Bolivia

This investigation will explore two types of agriculture, one in Central America and one in South America. This simple investigation will compel you to ask questions about the particular methods of agricultural production illustrated in the images and think about whether these types of agriculture are sustainable or not. We suspect your answers may not be as straightforward or simple as you might initially suspect.


Lesson 1: Shrimp Production in Honduras

Shrimp Production in Honduras

Click on the View Larger Map link under the map below to open up a map of Central America.

View larger map


You will now travel south to Bolivia to investigate soy production. 

Lesson 2: Soy Production in Bolivia

Soy Production in Bolivia

Navigate to the NASA Earth Observatory website.

As you read the paragraph under the Bolivia images, find answers to the following questions

  1. When did the resettlement of people from the Altiplano begin?
  2. What type of physical geography were the people resettled to?
  3. In the 1986 image, what did the settlements look like?
  4. What was included in a settlement?
  5. In the 2001 image, what did the settlements look like?
  6. What caused the change in size of the settlements between 1986 and 2001?

Now that you have investigated soy production in Bolivia, let’s travel to that region today. Use the interactive map below.

View larger map

  1. Hypothesize as to what you think you will see today in that region? Will there be any further change or will it be the same?

Click only through the final three slides of the presentation. On the final slide, compare the image to the two images you investigated from 1986 and 2001.

  1. Does it appear that soy production has increased, decreased, or stayed the same in the past ten years?

Zoom in and out and pan around the region.

  1. What can you say about soy agriculture in the region?
  1. Hypothesize about what you think will happen to both regions you have studied over the next ten years, weighing what you have learned so far.

Now think about the two areas you have investigated.  Go back and review the images and written information if necessary to answer this question.

  1. How does the information you learned today apply to answering our original question, “How will we sustainably feed everyone in the coming decade and beyond?”


“Sustainably feeding Earth’s population over the coming decade and beyond requires better understanding of how food systems interact with environmental change, how they are connected across regions, and how they are influenced by changing economic, political, and technological circumstances. The geographical sciences’ analysis of food production and consumption, when coupled with recent conceptual and methodological advances, can provide new insights into this critically important research arena.” (UCP, 65)

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