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Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)

Ifugao Rice Terraces

 

 

Summary

Site location:   Central Cordillera Region, Northern Philippines

Area of GIAHS: 17 138 ha

Population working for this system: 161 623 pers.

Topological Characteristics: -

Climatic Classification: marine tropical climate

Ethnic Groups/Indigenous People: Ifugao communities

Primary Income Sources: agriculture, wood carving and weaving


Over the last century, the Ifugao Rice Terraces had been self-sufficient in food, timber and water. Thanks to an organization of the landscape divided into five components including woodlot and communal forest, swidden farms, rice terraces, settlement areas and water bodies and irrigation systems, this system is an example of adaptation of the local communities to the environment.

Ifugao terraces have shaped a characteristically landscape in the Mountains between 800 and 1500 meters. Indeed, they were previously forested areas while others are presumably grasslands. It is however, the availability of water that dictates the Ifugaos to build terraces and allowed them to create this system.

However, the rice terraces are now in a very critical stage of deterioration and do not allow the local communities to overcome the poverty line. The continued survival of the terraces is threatened by various factors such as environmental degradation, unregulated development and neglect brought about by urbanization and changing values.