Could you tell me about terrace farming? I would especially like to know about terrace
farming practices in India.
Heena R. Sinha,
Dear Heena ji
Std. IV B.
DAV Public School, Airoli
You are sure to see terraced hills when you go to the
mountains. In terrace farming a series of steps are cut into the hillside. The sides of
each step is protected by building a stone wall. There are three kinds of terrace farming
methods that is used by the Himalayan farmers.
Khet: are wet
terraces where rice and wheat is grown. These slope inward and have irrigation systems.
The crop yield from these terraces is very high and khets are therefore highly
Bari: are rain fed
terraces, which are built on higher and steeper slopes. The terraces slope outward to
check water-logging and millets, maize and buckwheat are grown here. The crop yield is
lower than khets.
Pakho: is untilled
land that is not suited for cultivation. Many feel that terrace farming is a major reason
for land erosion in the hills. But contrary to common perception the farmers are very good
land managers and have developed ways to deal with these problems. When landslides are
feared cultivation is stopped. Khets are turned into baris to reduce
waterloggind even if it means a reduction in the crop yield. Sometimes even the baris
are turned into pakhos to conserve soil.
I am a lifetime subscriber of DTE and especially enjoy Gobar Times as it is very
interesting and helpful for my kids. My son (class 9) has to write a detailed project on
the diversity of life on Earth and relate it to the different regions. I shall be very
grateful if you can help me find out more on this so that my son can complete his project.
It would be great if you could give a map.
Continue doing the good work you all are doing towards protecting the environment.
Dear Poonam ji
Your son has a very interesting project! In order to understand life on Earth we must
observe how it interacts with the physical environment. The nature of soil and the climate
determine the kind of biodiversity found in an area. Latitude is a very important factor
in defining biomes as both the climate changes at different latitudes. The biosphere can
be broadly divided into biomes.
Tundra: found at the northern-most extremes, it is characterised by long harsh
winters and short summers. The dominant vegetation is lichens and mosses.
Taiga: situated just south of the Tundra this region is dominated by coniferous
(spruce, fir, aspen and birch) vegetation. The growing season is longer that the Tundra.
Temperate broadleaf deciduous forests: this region has hot summers and cold
winters. Trees like oak, hickory and beech grow here.
Tropical rainforests: This is earth's most complex biome in terms of structure
and species diversity. It has optimal growing conditions abundant precipitation and
year round warmth.
Grasslands (savanna): tropical grassland with widely scattered clumps of low
trees. The acacia trees are found here. The rainfall varies between 85-105 cm.
Desert: has less than 25 cm precipitation and is found in both temperate and
tropical regions. Plant cover is sparse and soil is mostly exposed.