Von Thunen's Land Use Model Johann Heinrich von Thunen (1783–1851) produced a land use model in the early nineteenth century that demonstrated how market forces may decide how land in different regions would be used. Von Thunen was a talented farmer with an understanding of economics. He concluded that poor soil quality and lack of investment in agriculture were limiting the profitablility of German farming. Thus, he proposed a way for farmers to make money by renting out their land. His model showed that farmers could earn more money by putting forest on rented land than by keeping it as pasture, thus encouraging the clear-cutting of forests.
Von Thunen's model has been influential in explaining historical changes in land use. It has been applied to explain such events as the rise of agriculture after the last ice age, the conversion of forest to farmland, and the clearance of land for cattle grazing. The model suggests that where there are profits to be made from farming, this will happen even if the cost of labour is high. Thus, it explains why farmers will buy machines to reduce labour costs even if this means they will have to give up part of their land. In fact, von Thunen estimated that one third of all arable land was kept using this method of production. He also suggested that if prices were high enough, all forest might be cleared for farming even though this would reduce economic growth.
Von Thunen's model explains the link between land costs and crop transportation costs. Von Thunen began writing on the geographical structure of agriculture using all of the data he had gathered. He showed that the cost of transporting grain from the fields to the markets was the main factor determining whether or not farmers would grow wheat instead of corn. If the price of wheat was higher than the price of corn, then farmers would plant more of it. Otherwise, they would plant more of what made money: corn.
The model has two basic parts. The first part shows that if the cost of transport is high, then farmers will grow something else instead. If the cost of transport is low, then they will keep producing both crops. The second part shows that if the price of one crop is higher than the other, then farmers will grow more of it. If they are equal, then they will grow an equal amount of each. Finally, if the price of one crop is lower than the other, then they will grow less of it. If they are equal, then they will grow equal amounts of each.
In conclusion, the purpose of the Von Thunen model is to explain why some countries grow more of one crop than another.
In Der isolierte Staat (1826), Johann Heinrich von Thunen, a Prussian landowner, proposed an early idea of agricultural location (The Isolated State). According to the Thunen model, access to the market (town) can result in a full system of agricultural land use. This concept is considered the ancestor of modern-day spatial planning tools such as zoning and land use regulations.
Thunen's ideas were not new at the time they were published. They were based on work done by many other people before him. What made his proposal unique was its implementation using mathematical models. At that time, few countries had accurate population data so mathematicians used modeling to estimate future needs for schools, hospitals etc. The model also helped identify the most efficient way to distribute these resources within the territory under consideration.
Thunen's work was very influential and contributed to the development of geographic information systems (GIS) later in the 19th century.
The Von Thunen Model aims to distinguish between land use patterns based on agricultural output sizes. In particular, it attempts to explain rural land usage by relating transportation costs to distance from the market. The model was developed by Per Kruger in 1994 and has been widely used since then.
According to the model, a given area of land can be classified into one of three types of use: (1) livestock grazing, which requires little or no input of labor or capital and for which there is a high concentration of animals; (2) farming, which requires small amounts of labor and/or capital inputs and produces relatively large quantities of food; and (3) non-agricultural areas, such as forests and other forms of vegetation that require substantial inputs of labor and/or capital and for which there are low concentrations of animals. Livestock grazing is assumed to be inefficient because it does not produce enough food to cover its cost. Thus, farmers evolve toward greater productivity, which leads to the specialization of roles within agriculture. For example, farmers may choose to raise livestock primarily for their meat rather than their milk or wool, thus reducing their need for human resources.
Transportation costs play an important role in determining which type of use will prevail on any given piece of land.
Despite its flaws, the Von Thunen model remains important today because it may be used as an idealized description of agricultural geography, notably in its representation of how land and transportation costs connect to markets. This link between agriculture and economics makes the model relevant for understanding current issues such as global food security.
The Von Thunen model assumes that farmland can be divided into smaller units called "villes". Each vill will produce a certain amount of grain per year, which depends on the quality and type of soil. The vill also requires a certain amount of investment in infrastructure (such as roads or railways) before it can be used to produce grain. After each season of cultivation, the villerow must be rested or fallow to recover some of its original fertility. A vill cannot be resteered more than twice without losing productivity.
Grain production depends on the type of crop grown. Different crops require different amounts of fertilizer and machinery to be effective. For example, a farmer might choose to grow wheat because it yields a large quantity of grain, but they would need more fertilizer than normal to achieve this. On the other hand, growing soybeans requires much less input than normal wheat, since you do not need as high a yield to make up for its lower price.