Terrace agriculture (photo: Klara Vlasakova).Terrace agriculture can be found throughout the world. In Asia, rice terraces are common in extremely mountainous areas. Terrace farming is also practiced in parts of Africa.

In some parts of the world people have used terrace agriculture for a very long time. Terrace farming was also practiced by the South American Incas over 1500 years ago.

Photo: Terrace agriculture in Batad, Philippines (© Klara Vlasakova).

Where Terrace Agriculture is Practiced

A terrace is a hillside that has been cut to form steps. These steps run up the side of the hill. Terrace farming is found in hilly or mountainous areas. Terrace agriculture creates a pretty landscape. However, there are good reasons for why people farmed this way.

Terrace agriculture has been widely practiced in Asia, Africa, Europe and South America. In South America, terrace farming was practiced by the ancient Inca civilization. Instead of rice, the Incas grew potatoes and corn on the mountain terraces. In the Philippines, places with rice terraces have become World Heritage sites.

Why People Practice Terrace Agriculture

One reason for terracing is to prevent soil erosion. Soil erosion is the loss of soil during rains. The terraces help to save the soil that is needed for growing plants.

The terraces are also like tiny dams that can conserve water. This is often important in mountainous regions that don’t receive a lot of rain.

A third reason for using terraces is that it is easier to farm. It is much harder to farm on a slope than on a flat terrace.

Improving Your Reading and Thinking Skills

Think for a few moments. Try to recall the major ideas in this article. When you are done, click the box below for a list of main ideas.


How did you do? With practice, you should be able to identify many of the major ideas. You may even discover some important ideas that aren’t listed.


The Mysterious Moray Agricultural Terraces of the Incas (amusingplanet.com).
Banaue Rice Terraces (tfabella.wordpress.com).
WindhorseTour a Top China Travel Agency Offers Yuanyang Rice Terraces Tours (prweb.com).
Banaue Rice Terraces – Ifugao (skyruzz.wordpress.com).
Ho’oulu ‘Āina (actionexchange.wordpress.com).

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