INTRODUCTION TO EAST ASIA AND THE PACIFIC WORLD

East Asia is located where the Pacific and Indian oceans meet. Its location made it a great trad- ing area for centuries. The geog- raphy of Southeast Asia consists mainly of mountains, river val- leys, peninsulas, and islands. Australia is flat with broad deserts and low mountains. Rain falls seasonally across much of the region. Monsoons occur in the tropical climates near the Equator. Australia is mostly arid and semiarid, though south- ern Australia and New Zealand have Mediterranean and marine west-coast cli- mates. Many plants and animals are found in the ecosystems of the region. Tropical rain forests line the coasts of northern Australia and East and Southeast Asia. Parts of East Asia, Australia, and New Zealand are decid- uous forests; the interiors of China, Mongolia, and Australia are grasslands. East Asia is heavily populated, with about 2 billion inhabitants. China’s popu- lation alone is over 1 billion, with a third of them living in rural areas. Many eth- nic, religious, and language groups live in the region. This has led to great cultural diversity. The economies of the nations within the region contrast sharply with each other. While Japan and Australia are high- ly industrialized, China and much of Southeast Asia are focused on agriculture, where intensive farming—farming that requires much labor to produce food—is done. In hilly areas, farmers cre- ate terraces, flat ledges of land, like steps, to plant their crops.

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REVIEW QUESTIONS
  1. What is intensive farming?
  2. Map Skills Where are Australia and Antarctica located in relation to East Asia?