Description of practice

Terraces are a relatively flat areas constructed on sloping land to reduce surface water runoff and erosion and enable more effective farming. A terraced landscape resembles a large flight of steps with the risers often reinforced with stone to prevent erosion.

Examples of how to use terraces Further information
(see Note below)

AMP03 01

Traditional earth bench terraces

Level bench terraces are constructed with risers protected by fodder grasses, used for (irrigated) crop production.


»WOCAT technology 1099


AMP03 02

Small level bench terraces

Narrow terraces are constructed for growing perennial and horticultural crops on hillsides.


»WOCAT technology 1404

AMP03 03

Agricultural terraces with dry stone walls

Dry stone walls are built to reinforce the face of the terrace, creating agricultural land, minimizing soil erosion and retaining soil moisture on steep mountain slopes.


»WOCAT technology 1702

AMP03 04

Graded stone wall terraces

Stone walls are built by digging a shallow trench into which large foundation stones are laid followed by rows of smaller stones. New stones are added to the walls each year to preserve and maintain them. The same methods have been used for generations.  


»WOCAT technology 1099


AMP03 05

Loess terraces

Level bench terraces are built on highly erodible loess soils. Terraces like this allow cultivation but should be maintained properly to avoid topsoil losses.


»WOCAT technology 1445
»WOCAT technology 1367
»WOCAT technology 1419

AMP03 06

Small bench terraces

Small bench terraces are constructed along contour lines with a permanent green cover stabilizing the steep terrace face.

»WOCAT technology 1011

AMP03 07

Photo: Luuk Fleskens

Bench terraces

Wide bench terraces like this require substantial soil mobilization and can only be constructed in deep soils. Large individual terrace plots facilitate cultivation.


»WOCAT technology 1732
»WOCAT technology 607
»WOCAT technology 4284
»WOCAT technology 1181
»WOCAT technology 1512
»WOCAT technology 1499
»WOCAT technology 1289
»WOCAT technology 1553
»WOCAT technology 1516

AMP03 08

Photo: Luuk Fleskens

Stone wall bench terraces

Bench terraces supported by stone walls like these are very labour intensive to construct but lead to less loss of land and highly stable terraces.


»WOCAT technology 949
»WOCAT technology 1832
»WOCAT technology 3208
»WOCAT technology 1506
»WOCAT technology 1411

Note: Most of the Further information links are to a full description of the example in the WOCAT database. However sometimes the link may be to similar practices or a research paper. Occasionally the link is to a commercial product in which case it should be understood that this does not imply any endorsement of the product by iSQAPER.

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