Consider the following:
1. Shifting cultivation
2. Pastoral nomadism
3. Hunting and gathering
Which among the following is a correct decreasing order of above adaptation in terms of their ability to sustain a population?

Answer: [B] 2 1 3

Gathering as an economic activity requires the least effort and investment among all economic pursuits. However, a large area is required to support even a small population by this mode of living. It is thus an extensive activity and yields per unit of area and per person are extremely low. There is no surplus production and this puts a restriction on the growth of population. Population in most areas where this mode of life is practiced is less than 2 persons per square km. Thus this adaptation has least ability to sustain a population. Next comes Shifting cultivation. A scattered distribution of small patches of cultivated land surrounded and separated by broad stretches of forest is the striking feature of the distribution of shifting  cultivation. Most areas of this migratory primitive agriculture have a sparse population. The next adaptations would be pastoral nomadism followed by civilization.

This question is a part of GKToday's Integrated IAS General Studies Module