Terrace Farming Benefits

5 Terrace Farming Benefits Explained

Terrace farming benefits are; erosion mitigation, soil and water conservation, increase in productivity, long-term sustainability, and increase in land accessibility.


The importance of terrace farming is based on its ability to make sloping lands more usable for agricultural purposes, thereby increasing their economic value. This importance draws from all its benefits, which are discusses as follows;






1). Erosion Mitigation (as one of the Terrace Farming Benefits)

It is fairly common for terrace farming to be used as an effective method for mitigating soil erosion in hilly regions.

Terrace farming can prevent or restrict soil erosion by modifying a slope into segments (terraces or steps) that reduce the velocity and force of water flow, down the slope [5].

With reduced flow, water becomes less capable of dislodging soil particles and transporting them down the slope.

This area of relevance makes terrace farming a classic example of sustainable agricultural practice, since it enables farmers in such undulating terrains to produce their crops continuously without much risk to the environment.

When combined with other relevant sustainable farming techniques, terrace farming can significantly reduce the overall environmental impact of agriculture in topographically-sensitive regions.






2). Soil and Water Conservation

Terrace farming is a method of soil conservation, and its implementation also results in a significant degree of water conservation.

We conserve soil by terrace farming because when a slope is modified into a series of terraces, the velocity and force of water runoff down the slope will reduce. This effect ensures that less soil particles and nutrients are lost on a timely basis, than would be the case in the absence of terracing.

Water is conserved by terrace farming because when runoff velocity reduces, retention increases, so that more water can be absorbed effectively by the soil. Under conditions of intense precipitation, this can reduce the risk of downslope flooding, and hazardous mass movement.

The disadvantage of terracing within this context is that if the terraces are not properly designed, it can worsen the trend of mass movement and erosion [4].

Properly-implemented terrace farming can help the soil to retain fertilizer more effectively [6], and mitigates the risk of pollution by fertilizer-leaching, transport and accumulation.






3). Increase in Productivity (as one of the Terrace Farming Benefits)

By reducing erosion, conserving soil and water resources, terrace farming generally increases the biological productivity of any sloping land on which it is implemented.

Studies have shown that when terrace farming is utilized, crop yield improves in terms of growth and ecological resilience [2].

The ability to increase agricultural yield can be viewed as sufficient compensation for the labor and time required to implement land-terracing. For areas prone to food insecurity, the method can also be useful for addressing this problem [1].

Terrace Farming Benefits: Increase in Productivity (Credit: Sasin Tipchai 2016 .CC0 1.0.)
Terrace Farming Benefits: Increase in Productivity (Credit: Sasin Tipchai 2016 .CC0 1.0.)






4). Long-term Sustainability

Terrace farming can be effective in its purpose for long periods of time.

This is one of the advantages of terrace farming, and is indicative of its sustainability compared to farming on slopes without terracing.

Terrace farming is maintained over long periods simply by ensuring that the profile of terraces is not worn down by erosive agents or deposited materials. To achieve this, terraces simply have to be repaired or reconstructed as soon as they begin to wear.

The long-term sustainability of terrace farming explains its usage in parts of the world for many centuries so far.

It also makes human activities on sloping land to come with less risk to the ecosystem [3], and serves as a suitable soil and water conservation strategy in such areas [1].

In cases where the land involved is susceptible to drought and desertification, terrace farming can help mitigate the risk of these problems simply by conserving water [7].






5). Increase in Land Accessibility (as one of the Terrace Farming Benefits)

The main importance of terrace farming comes from its ability to increase the value and usability of sloping land.

One of the ways in which the value and usability of land can be increased is through better accessibility.

With regards to this, terrace farming is very useful to make land accessible for agricultural use, and is often the only means by which this can be achieved, especially for steep terrains.

Terrace Farming Benefits: Increased Accessibility (Credit: CEphoto, Uwe Aranas 2008 .CC BY-SA 4.0.)
Terrace Farming Benefits: Increased Accessibility (Credit: CEphoto, Uwe Aranas 2008 .CC BY-SA 4.0.)







Terrace farming benefits are;

1. Erosion Mitigation

2. Soil and Water Conservation

3. Increase in Productivity

4. Long-term Sustainability

5. Increase in Land Accessibility







1). Chapagain, T.; Raizada, M. N. (2017). "Agronomic Challenges and Opportunities for Smallholder Terrace Agriculture in Developing Countries." Front Plant Sci. 2017 Mar 17;8:331. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2017.00331. (Accessed 19 February 2023).

2). Chapagain, T.; Ghimire, B.; Pudasaini, R.; Gurung, K.; Choi, K.; Rai, L.; Magar, S.; Rishnu, B. K.; Raizada, M. (2019). "The underutilized terrace wall can be intensified to improve farmer livelihoods." Agron. Sustain. Dev. 39, 29 (2019). Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13593-019-0574-2. (Accessed 19 February 2023).

3). Chen, Q.; Wen, Y.; Zhang, X.; Zhu, Z. (2022). "Evolutionary Overview of Terrace Research Based on Bibliometric Analysis in Web of Science from 1991 to 2020." Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Jun 25;19(13):7796. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19137796. (Accessed 19 February 2023).

4). Deng, C.; Zhang, G.; Liu, Y.; Nie, X.; Li, Z.; Liu, J.; Zhu, D. (2021). "Advantages and disadvantages of terracing: A comprehensive review." International Soil and Water Conservation Research 9(3). Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.iswcr.2021.03.002. (Accessed 19 February 2023).

5). Dorren, L.; Rey, F. (2004). "A review of the effect of terracing on erosion." Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228581261_A_review_of_the_effect_of_terracing_on_erosion. (Accessed 23 February 2023).

6). Rashid, M.; Rehman, O.; Alfosnso, S.; Kausar, R.; Akram, M. I. (2016). "The effectiveness of soil and water conservation terrace structures for improvement of crops and soil productivity in rainfed terraced system." Pakistan Journal of Agricultural Research 53(01):241-248. Available at: https://doi.org/10.21162/PAKJAS/16.1502. (Accessed 19 February 2023).

7). Sakellariou, M.; Psiloglou, B.; Giannakopoulos, C.; Mylona, P. V. (2021). "Integration of Abandoned Lands in Sustainable Agriculture: The Case of Terraced Landscape Re-Cultivation in Mediterranean Island Conditions." Land 10(5):457. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3390/land10050457. (Accessed 19 February 2023).

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