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Terracing (agriculture)

A method of shaping land to control erosion on slopes of rolling land used for cropping and other purposes. In early practice the land was shaped into a series of nearly level benches or steplike formations. Modern practice in terracing, however, consists of the construction of low-graded channels or levees to carry the excess rainfall from the land at nonerosive velocities. The physical principle involved is that, when water is spread in a shallow stream, its flow is retarded by the roughness of the bottom of the channel and its carrying, or erosive, power is reduced. Since direct impact of rainfall on bare land churns up the soil and the stirring effect keeps it in suspension in overland flow and rills, terracing does not prevent sheet erosion. It serves only to prevent destruction of agricultural land by gullying and must be supplemented by other erosion-control practices, such as grass rotation, cover crops, mulching, contour farming, strip cropping, and increased organic matter content. Erosion Soil conservation

The two major types of terraces are the bench and the broadbase . The bench terrace is essentially a steep-land terrace and consists of an almost vertical retaining wall, called a riser, or a steep vegetative slope to hold the nearly level surface of the soil for cultivation, orchards, vineyards, or landscaping. The broadbase terrace has the distinguishing characteristic of farmability; that is, crops can be grown on this terrace and worked with modern-day machinery. These terraces are constructed either to remove or retain water and, based on their primary function, are classified either as graded or level. Land drainage (agriculture)

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From McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Environmental Science. The Content is a copyrighted work of McGraw-Hill and McGraw-Hill reserves all rights in and to the Content. The Work is © 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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