[permaculture] A school near a terraced rice field in Vietnam

Lawrence London lfljvenaura at gmail.com
Mon Jan 6 17:04:06 EST 2014

On Mon, Jan 6, 2014 at 3:09 PM, Jay Woods <woodsjaya at gmail.com> wrote:

> I'd like to try terracing on 5 acres of hillside here in Nevada. It is dry
> country so the water table needs to be perched in each terrace. Do you have
> any sources on their construction? I remember seeing terracing used under
> these conditions in the Mid-East.
Unless you planned to build terraces the size of ancient ones in Asia,
following the contours of
the mountainsides, then you would have only trivial structural issues to
deal with. I would think your primary challenges
would be soil stabilization to prevent loss of topsoil or major erosion
washing away an entire terrace and possibly terraces below
and water retention for subsurface nourishment of crops when they need it
most or from an impoundment constructed nearby supplying irrigation water,
gravity flow,
if possible. Have such an impoundment above all the terraces or have
several located at various levels. Ancient terrace builders and their
modern counterparts maintaining these structures have it down to an exact
scie3nce. You can Google for an array of results about this and reap great
rewards. Start with sites describing how these terraces were built and how
they have been rebuilt by those who use them from production of rice and
other crops. I will try to find my files on the Phillipine region where
permaculture is practiced with far diversity, intercropping, succession
cropping, post harvest cropping, polyculture and aquaculture systems
providing plant crops, fish, crustaceans, ducks for weeding and insect pest
biocontrol and meat for the table. Terrace building and cropping science
involves structural integrity issues, water retention and system
permeability allowing drainage, filtration and purification of excess water
for use by terraces below. This downhill cycling of water providing for
plants and preventing erosion is an interesting feature. It would seem that
seepage from one terrace to another would contribute to terrace saturation
which would then lead to surface runoff through channels built into each
terrace flowing to terraces below or bypassing them altogether in times of
heavy rainfall. When you consider the size of these ancient terraces you
realize how complicated and labor intensive construction of them is. If the
system fails to work predictably then a lot of work and massive food
producing earthworks could be lost.
Ifugao in the Phillipines is worth looking at. I will try to find the files
on some other terraced farming system in that part of the world that I
archived years ago.

> On Monday, January 06, 2014 12:24:21 PM Lawrence London wrote:
> >  The amount of planning that goes into the design, construction and soil
> > preparation of those terraces is incredible. I read an article on a group
> > that rebuilt some that had been damaged from erosion when the walls
> > collapsed. I guess construction methods vary according to materials
> > available on site but usually a lot of dry-laid stonework goes into the
> > foundation of each terrace wall. Drainage and wall reinforcement is part
> of
> > the process. I think some Asian rice terraces date back thousands of
> years.
> > The steep terrain was all the people had to work with, little or no flat
> > land.

Lawrence F. London
lfljvenaura at gmail.com
Skype: lawrence.f.london

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