terrace

terrace, a level field built on top of a hillslope into the floor of a deep valley to improve cultivation of crops. Terracing uses the runoff from the hill to increase soil retentiveness and arability and is often part of a larger irrigation system that includes canals. Although widespread in areas of high population pressure, such as Japan and the Philippines, it has been abandoned in some regions, such as the Mediterranean, because of its high maintenance costs.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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