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NEWS
Exploring The Use Of Rice Terraces
January 15, 2020

Sticky or unsticky rice? Interestingly, soil can be sticky or unsticky, too. It all depends on how it’s managed. In the case of the Banaue Rice Terraces in the Philippines, this potentially meant feast or famine! The January 7th Sustainable, Secure Food blog explores the history of terraces, and how they still help rice farmers today.


Terraces are edged with berms to hold in soil. Credit: Tim Durham

The ancient Ifugao culture learned to farm this mountainous terrain long ago. A heavy rainfall would ordinarily flush topsoil into the valley below. In order to combat erosion, the Ifugao built tiered fields, or terraces. It’s like stadium seating fused with contour farming. The terraces slow the flow of water, giving it a chance to infiltrate rather than runoff.

As a result, they modeled one of the first sustainable farming practices. According to blogger Tim Durham, “The Ifugao wisely recognized the landscape itself as a precious resource. This allowed otherwise unusable land to be farmed productively!”

“There’s a certain appeal about rice terraces – specifically Banaue’s offerings,” says Durham. “The engineering is curvaceous, wrapping around steep hillsides. Hopefully, the Banaue Rice Terraces of the Philippines will officially take their rightful place along other historic marvels like the Great Pyramid of Giza, The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and other Seven Wonders of the World.”

To learn more about the use of terraces in rice farming, read the entire blog here.

This blog is sponsored and written by members of the American Society of Agronomy and Crop Science Society of America.


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