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Friday, September 19, 2008

Pre modern intensive farming

Pre modern intensive farming techniques and structures include terracing, rice paddies, and various forms of aquaculture.


"Oysters were likely the first sea animal to be transported from one area to another and cultivated as food. The ancient world, while knowing little about the reproduction of oysters, knew much about the conditions necessary for their growth. Pliny the Elder, a noted Roman naturalist of the first century, has left an account of artificial oyster beds established in Lake Lucrinus near Naples by a Sergius Orata about 95 B.C. Orata's methods consisted of preparing the grounds by removing other forms of marine life, planting seed oysters, cultivating the oysters by keeping them separated in order to grow to a well-formed, mature size, and finally harvesting them when they were ready for market. Modern oyster farming, based on the knowledge of oyster biology, basically follows the Roman procedure.Fisheries and Oceans Canada] article American Oyster


In agriculture, a terrace is a leveled section of a hilly cultivated area, designed as a method of soil conservation to slow or prevent the rapid surface runoff of irrigation water. Often such land is formed into multiple terraces, giving a stepped appearance. The human landscapes of rice cultivation in terraces that follow the natural contours of the escarpments like contour ploughing is a classic feature of the island of Bali and the Banaue Rice Terraces in Benguet, Philippines. In Peru, the Inca made use of otherwise unusable slopes by drystone walling to create terraces.

Rice paddy

A paddy field is a flooded parcel of arable land used for growing rice and other semiaquatic crops. Paddy fields are a typical feature of rice-growing countries of east and southeast Asia including Malaysia, China, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, Indonesia, India, and the Philippines. They are also found in other rice-growing regions such as Piedmont (Italy), the Camargue (France) and the Artibonite Valley (Haiti). They can occur naturally along rivers or marshes, or can be constructed, even on hillsides, often with much labour and materials. They require large quantities of water for irrigation, which can be quite complex for a highly developed system of paddy fields. Flooding provides water essential to the growth of the crop. It also gives an environment favourable to the strain of rice being grown, and is hostile to many species of weeds. As the only draft animal species which is adapted for life in wetlands, the water buffalo is in widespread use in Asian rice paddies. There are significant adverse environmental impacts from rice paddy cultivation due to the generation of large quantities of methane gas. World methane production due to rice paddies has been estimated in the range of 50 to 100 million tonnes per annum; this level of greenhouse gas generation is a large component of the global warming threat and derives simply from an expanding human population.

Rice-farming and the use of paddies in Korea is ancient. Korean paddy-farming can provide cultural background on the use of paddies in East Asia. A pit-house at the Daecheon-ni site yielded carbonized rice grains and radiocarbon dates indicating that rice cultivation may have begun as early as the Middle Jeulmun Pottery Period (c. 3500-2000 B.C.) in the Korean Peninsula (Crawford and Lee 2003). The earliest rice cultivation in the Korean Peninsula may have used dry-fields instead of paddies.

The earliest Mumun features were usually located in low-lying narrow gulleys that were naturally swampy and fed by the local stream system. Some Mumun paddies in flat areas were made of a series of squares and rectangles separated by bunds approximately 10 cm in height, while terraced paddies consisted of long irregularly shapes that followed natural contours of the land at various levels (Bale 2001; Kwak 2001).

Mumun Period rice farmers used all of the elements that are present in today's paddies such terracing, bunds, canals, and small reservoirs. We can grasp some paddy-farming techniques of the Middle Mumun (c. 850-550 B.C.) from the well-preserved wooden tools excavated from archaeological rice paddies at the Majeon-ni Site. However, iron tools for paddy-farming were not introduced until sometime after 200 B.C. The spatial scale of individual paddies, and thus entire paddy-fields, increased with the regular use of iron tools in the Three Kingdoms of Korea Period (c. A.D. 300/400-668).

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