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Terrace (agriculture) | Wikipedia audio article


In agriculture, a terrace is a piece of sloped
plane that has been cut into a series of successively receding flat surfaces or platforms, which
resemble steps, for the purposes of more effective farming. This type of landscaping is therefore called
terracing. Graduated terrace steps are commonly used
to farm on hilly or mountainous terrain. Terraced fields decrease both erosion and
surface runoff, and may be used to support growing crops that require irrigation, such
as rice. The Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras
have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the significance of this technique.==Crop usage==
Terraced paddy fields are used widely in rice, wheat and barley farming in east, south, and
southeast Asia, as well as the Mediterranean, Africa, and South America. Drier-climate terrace farming is common throughout
the Mediterranean Basin, where they are used for vineyards, olive trees, cork oak, etc.==Ancient history==
Terracing is also used for sloping terrain; the Hanging Gardens of Babylon may have been
built on an artificial mountain with stepped terraces, such as those on a ziggurat. At the seaside Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum,
the villa gardens of Julius Caesar’s father-in-law were designed in terraces to give pleasant
and varied views of the Bay of Naples.==South America==
In the South American Andes, farmers have used terraces, known as andenes, for over
a thousand years to farm potatoes, maize, and other native crops. Terraced farming was developed by the Wari
culture and other peoples of the south-central Andes before 1000 AD, centuries before they
were used by the Inca, who adopted them. The terraces were built to make the most efficient
use of shallow soil and to enable irrigation of crops by allowing runoff to occur through
the outlet.The Inca built on these, developing a system of canals, aqueducts, and puquios
to direct water through dry land and increase fertility levels and growth. These terraced farms are found wherever mountain
villages have existed in the Andes. They provided the food necessary to support
the populations of great Inca cities and religious centres such as Machu Picchu.==Canary Islands==
Terraced fields are common in islands with steep slopes. The Canary Islands present a complex system
of terraces covering the landscape from the coastal irrigated plantations to the dry fields
in the highlands. These terraces, which are named cadenas (chains),
are built with stone walls of skillful design, which include attached stairs and channels.==England==
In Old English, a terrace was also called a “lynch” (lynchet). An example of an ancient Lynch Mill is in
Lyme Regis. The water is directed from a river by a duct
along a terrace. This set-up was used in steep hilly areas
in the UK.==Japan==
In Japan, some of the 100 Selected Terraced Rice Fields (in Japanese: 日本の棚田百選一覧),
from Iwate in the north to Kagoshima in the south, are slowly disappearing, but volunteers
are helping the farmers both to maintain their traditional methods and for sightseeing purposes.==Gallery====See also==
Anden Banaue Rice Terraces
Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras Satoyama
Terrace garden

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