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Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)

Rice Terraces System in Southern Mountainous and Hilly Areas

 

 

Summary

China has a very long history of constructing terraces that are famous for a wide scope of distribution and a large number of amount. China is a mountainous country where the area of mountains account for about two-thirds of the total area of the territory. Therefore, to make a living, ancient people who lived in the mountainous area created the pattern of terraced fields according to local conditions. For hundreds of years, the terraces built along the mountains have not only improved the local farming conditions but also increased the output of grains. Moreover, they are beneficial to the ecology of the mountainous area and have made great contributions to the sustainable development of agriculture in China.

Despite of having a lot of mountains and hills, the southern provinces in China lack of plains to cultivate rice which requires a large area of water pool. To solve the problem of food, the ancient immigrants built terraced fields for water conservation which made it possible to grow rice in hilly areas. China's rice terraces are mainly distributed in the mountainous area in the south of the Yangtze River. In these areas, the rain is abundant and the mountains are distributed widely, so the terraces are constructed along the mountains, such as Yunnan Honghe Hani Rice Terraces which was designated as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) in 2010. The rice terraces recommended here are respectively: Hunan Xinhua Ziquejie Terraces, Guangxi Longsheng Longji Terraces, Jiangxi Chongyi Hakka Terraces and Fujian Youxi Lianhe Terraces, all of which are typical representatives of rice terraces in subtropical China.