003 - Diffusion

Geographic Knowledge and Understanding

The importance of diffusion (including adoption/acquisition, expansion, relocation) in the spread of agricultural innovations, and also in the spread of diseases, and the role of geographic factors (including physical, economic and political barriers) in the rate of diffusion.


The process of agricultural innovations increases the power of a place. Geographic factors influence the rate of the diffusion of diseases between places.


  • To have knowledge and understanding of how agricultural innovations are spread via adoption, expansion or relocation.

  • To have knowledge and understanding of how diseases are spread via adoption, expansion or relocation.

  • To have an understanding of how the physical, economic and political barriers impact the rate and spread of diseases.

  • To have an understanding of how the physical, economic and political barriers impact the rate and spread of agricultural innovation.

Key Terminology

              • Diffusion

              • Expansion Diffusion

              • Relocation Diffusion

              • Contagious Diffusion

              • Hierarchical Diffusion

Define the key terms above by using the 'Useful Links' below:

Useful Links

Image One - Diffusion taken from https://slideplayer.com/slide/8547643/

Activity One - Team Effort - Spread of Agriculture

For the first exercise we are going to focus on exploring how agriculture is spread. The syllabus point asks us to specifically look at physical, economic and political factors which can influence that spread. We are all going to work on a single Google Slide to develop a guide to inform others of how agricultural innovation can be spread. While we usually say less is more on a slide this one isn't going to be used to present with. Detail is important and therefore the slides can be 'busier' than usual. Underneath the different sections are two resources that you may find useful and an example of a Slide Show from a school. The challenge is to do better than they did!

      1. How generally do agricultural innovations spread?

      2. Describe the model of innovation which outlines the process and who adopts the change.

      3. What can create a barrier to the spread of that innovation? Explain your answer.

      4. How do the following factors influence the spread of agricultural innovation?

              • Increasingly Commercialisation

              • Increasing Specialisation

              • Increasing Spatial Integration

                  • Transport

                  • Supportive services

                  • Prices

              • Increasing Mechanisation

              • Increasing Purchased Inputs

              • Increase Farm Size

              • Increasing Control over the Biophysical Environment

      5. How does the spatial integration impact the social and cultural aspects of farmers' lives?

              • Increasing Commercialisation

Useful Resources

Diffusion of Innovation

QUT 101

To Read

'Our Planet's Food and Health' by Codrington textbook Pages 50-57

Geography Notes - Barriers to Diffusion

Activity Two - Create - Spread of Disease

For this exercise you are going to create a poster on how diseases are spread to help with your revision. You are only going to be able to use an A4 piece of paper to collate your notes on. This poster is for you so it can be as colourful or as dull as you wish. You can mind map, draw, bullet point, create bubbles of information - anything really as long as it works for you. We will share a variety of your posters on the department website (maybe). You will need to include the following on your poster:

      1. A definition of contagious and hierarchical diffusion.

      2. How diseases can spread across traditional boundaries.

      3. Why diffusion may occur more rapidly in High Income Countries.

      4. Discussion on how the environmental and social factors can help to spread diseases in Poor Income Countries.

      5. An example a directly transmitted disease e.g. leprosy or HIV/AIDS

      6. Barriers to the diffusion of disease.

Exam Style Question

'Economic barriers have the greatest influence over the rate of diffusion.' Discuss [10 marks]

This lesson was development in collaboration with Richard Allaway from geographyalltheway. For more resources please visit www.geographyalltheway.com