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Sistemas Importantes del Patrimonio Agrícola Mundial (SIPAM)

Traditional Gudeuljang Irrigated Rice Terraces in Cheongsando

Summary

Site location:  Cheongsando Island, Wando County, Jollanam-do, Republic of Korea

Area of GIAHS: 0,05 km2

Population working for this system: 286 on the GIAHS site

Topological Characteristics: sandy and stony soil

Climatic Classification: humid temperate

Ethnic Groups/Indigenous People: -

Primary Income Sources: agriculture

Between the 16th and the mid-20th centuries, unique rice paddies have been constructed combining soil and water management by re-engineering the natural environment in areas with disadvantageous conditions. The residents have constructed, maintained, and managed Gudeuljangnon and the irrigation systems as a means of livelihood.

Gudeuljangnon are culverts constructed by stacking stones used as aqueducts of underground irrigation and drainage systems. It maximizes the usable area of the land by constructing the paddies above stacked rocks of various sizes, red mud and arable soil. Doing so, the farmers can adapt their water management to face droughts converting paddies into dry lands.

Last but not least, this unique way of life is part of a very rich culture including typical cuisine, religions and songs related to agriculture. Nowadays, this system must be conserved because of the diminution of youth practicing agriculture, of the urbanization of the island but also to keep living this unique water network.