Terrace farming turns hilly landscapes into beautiful art

November 16, 2015, 10:24 a.m.
terrace rice farm
Photo: Jimmy Tran/Shutterstock

Terrace farming has been in practice for thousands of years. In the east it is used for rice, tea, and wheat. In the Mediterranean it is used for vineyards and olive orchards, and in South America it is used for potatoes, maize and other crops. It is a smart and efficient way to turn steep or difficult terrain into productive agricultural land, growing plenty of food while preventing erosion.

From the article "Terrace Farming: A Unique Agriculture Solution":

One of the most prominent examples is in the rice field of Southeast Asia. Acre after acre of what looks like unusable land contains terrace after terrace... Rice, especially, needs a lot of water to grow. The more flat areas existing on which to grow rice, the more rice people can grow. And with the terrace farming idea, water stays on the level surfaces, so rice grows in places that, on first glance, wouldn't necessarily look to be good farmland.

Around the world, terrace farming has been used for centuries to support human life. The result of the technique is not only a productive crop, but also stunning patterns that create a topographical map of the landscape when viewed from above.

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Jaymi Heimbuch is a writer and photographer at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.