Terrace farming is a popular agricultural activity in many parts of the world. Many advantages of terrace farming are admitted to bringing huge benefits to the industry, making it widely applied, especially in mountainous areas or places with little rainfall.
What is terrace farming?
Terrace fields are horizontal spaces created by humans to cultivate crops on hillsides and mountains. They are built to provide plenty of surface area for farming on hillsides and to support long-term farming.
This cultivation method uses a lot of labor but is quite effective to maximize the growable land area in variable terrain. It is operated primarily to reduce soil erosion and water loss.
Advantages of terrace farming
Water conservation and runoff reduction
One of the benefits of terrace farming is to prevent rainwater from leaching nutrients from fertile soil. What causes plants to grow lush and high yield.
This agricultural cultivation also helps prevent plant leaching caused by strong rainwater. Sometimes, in mountainous areas, rainwater washed away the good crop, resulting in low crop yields.
Also, this method of farming increases soil roughness and create space for water droplets to penetrate. Therefore, it increases the water and moisture-holding capacity of the soil.
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Soil conservation and control of soil erosion
The ladder weakens the effects of precipitation and runoff by reducing the water velocity and total debris flow. This leads to the increase of biomass and surface cover. A terrace with a ring or ledge increases the efficiency of soil conservation as well as limits soil erosion. This is one of the uses of terrace farming that makes it more common in agriculture.
Improve land productivity and soil fertility
Due to reduced soil erosion and a high water holding capacity, terrace farming improves the fertility and productivity of the soil.
In terraced fields, the irrigation system is designed not only to supply water for crops, but also for many other purposes such as water storage, maintaining favorable soil conditions for plants, or providing the ideal environment for a variety of beneficial aquatic animals.
Ensure food security and crop productivity
Water scarcity and soil erosion are indispensable problems for mountainous areas. Another benefit of terrace farming increase crop productivity by conserving water and soil. Besides, the interaction between water and fertilizer results in the high productivity of the crop.
Generating a considerable amount of food, one benefit of terrace farming is to ensure food security for the people living around that area.
Enhance biodiversity and ecosystem restoration
The application of terrace farming in the mountains or another area that cannot be cultivated to standards plays a complementary role in restoring ecosystems and enhancing biodiversity.
Enrich recreational options by creating aesthetic landscapes
Terrace farming brings many benefits to people as well as nature. Many terraced fields have become famous wonders in the world. For example, terraced fields in Chiang Mai – Thailand, Bali – Indonesia, Sapa – Vietnam, or YuanYang terraced fields in China are recognized by UNESCO as world heritage sites.
Terraced fields are classified as “cultural landscape” heritage (UNESCO, 2008). These are special geographical areas or unique properties that showcase works of a combination of nature and people.
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With many advantages, terrace farming is like a precious gift from nature. However, this form of farming is not very easy to apply. People should learn carefully about this farming technique if they want to start implementing it to ensure crop productivity.