IV-13.”Study on Sustainable Agriculture in Terraced Rice Cultivation and Rice Terrace Conservation in Asia”(H24 FY2012)

  • Project Leader : Nakamura Hitoshi (Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University)
  • Collaborators : Li Cheng-yun (National Center for Agro-biodiversity, Yunnan Agricultural University)
  • : Ando Kazuo (Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University)
  • : Yezer (Sherubtse College, Royal University of Bhutan)
  • : Uchida Haruo (Shikoku Research Center, WeNARC, NARO)

Outline of Research

In rice terraces in the Asian region, including Southeast Asia, sustainable agriculture according to the ecological specificities of the region is widely practiced and nurtures food production, specific landscapes, and cultures.

This study aims at a field study and literature survey on the rice terraces located in the Tango-Tajima area in Japan, Hani in Yunnan China and Bhutan to clarify the implications of resource-recycling, environmental friendliness, and conservation of biodiversity, which can potentially lead to the sustainable development of rice terraces and local communities.


In rice terraces in an Asiatic monsoon climate, under the condition that the modern agriculture could not be developed, various forms of rice farming and cultivation practices have been established to meet local needs, particularly for ecological requirements. FAO- recognized GIAHS (Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems) was recently approved to include Sado island and Noto Penisula (June 2011). Asiatic rice terraces and their traditional cultivation methods have been re-discovered for a sustainable environment and for the maintenance of biodiversity. Nevertheless, some of the rice terraces face maintenance difficulties.

This study includes a field survey on the current conditions of Japanese rice terraces as well as in other Asiatic countries in terms of resource-recycling, environmental friendliness, biodiversity conservation, and community development. It clarifies and characterizes the local specificities of traditional cultivation practices through a comparative analysis of data. Furthermore, it aims at a realistic community development plan and implementation agenda to combine farming methods based on both modern and traditional systems and concepts.

Resource-recycling sustainable cropping systems can be extended to general rice cultivation. It is not restricted to rice terraces and its potential value merits further attention. The expected results should contribute to those studies on other types of Asiatic rice terraces and traditional cultivation practices. Finally it will help GIAHS, conservation and maintenance of Asiatic rice terraces and rice production and community development as a whole.

Noto, Satoyama and Satoumi

Sado, Satoyama

Hani Rice Terraces System