First World Conference on Terraced Landscapes - Mengzi, China

Example of Yuanyang’s terraces

From 11-15 November 2010 the government of Honghe Prefecture will be hosting the First World Conference on Terraced Landscapes in Mengzi, Yunnan Province, P.R. China. The Ramsar Convention Secretariat will take an active part as one of the collaborating institutions.

This conference will be attended by international scholars and indigenous people with a common goal of promoting better understanding of terraced landscapes worldwide. The conference will highlight the importance of rice terraces and offer a platform for the exchange of ideas on terrace protection, sustainability challenges and solutions, conscientious development, landscape management, and examples of good practice around the world.

The conference will consist of six topical panels, one Forum discussion, and a two-day research excursion. The panels will focus on five themes: history, culture, & status quo of terraced agricultural landscapes around the world, tourism development in relation to local traditions and ecology, agro-ecosystems and terraced landscapes as bases for producing green products conservation and management of World Heritage terraced landscapes, Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS), policies, laws and regulations in terraced agricultural landscape administration.

In addition, the‘Terraced-field Farmers’ Forum will provide an opportunity for academics to work alongside farmers to share their opinions and knowledge on terraced landscapes. The panels and the forum will have its own moderator teams who will facilitate, with an academic chairperson to oversee the sessions and visualize discussions for all participants. The two day field trip will involve a visit to the Hani Rice Terraces and the surrounding villages.

The Conference is both timely and complementary, as the Ramsar Convention continues to encourage Contracting Parties to work towards raising greater awareness and recognition of the value of human-made wetlands, through designation of rice field ecosystems as Wetlands of International Importance.

Resolution X.31, which was adopted at Ramsar COP10, recognizes rice fields as an important landscape for world rice cultivation, which provides large areas of open water, important as animal and/or plant food sources, medicinal plants, and thus act as wetland systems which help to sustain livelihoods and human well-being in various regions. Rice fields also support important wetland biodiversity, such as reptiles, amphibians, fish, crustaceans, insects and molluscs, and play a significant role in waterbird flyways and the conservation of waterbird populations.

For more information on the conference, please visit:

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