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Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)

Osaki Kodo's Traditional Water Management System for Sustainable Paddy Agriculture

Summary

The Osaki region has developed as a paddy agriculture region by using the lowland swamps and wetlands that extend across the basins of Eai River and Naruse River. The region frequently experiences drought, is prone to flooding due to the topographical features of a landscape that rolls down from precipitous mountain areas to low gradient plains, and suffers cold temperature damage caused by the yamase, a cold and moist seasonal wind that is unique to the Pacific coast of the Tohoku region.

However, in order to secure food and maintain their livelihoods under such challenging environmental conditions, farmers of this region have accumulated a wealth of knowledge and used their ingenuity to manage and coordinate water resources. Their tireless efforts to develop a paddy agriculture system centered on rice production have allowed them to hand down from generation to generation the fertile land known as “Osaki Kōdo.”