The rice terraces here were crafted using bare hands by the Hani people over 1000 years and the methods are still in use today. The rice farmers have had to adapt to concepts in ecology and land preservation far before these concepts were fundamentally utilised around the world. Without a lot of hard work, local knowledge and expertise the vital topsoil would be washed away.
Yuanyang rice terrace is a nice example of both a sustainable ecosystem and symbiosis with nature. During winter and early spring the terraces are irrigated using spring water from the rainforest. The water then evaporates from the terraces and forms clouds. The rain is collected by forests on the mountains causing the spring water to flow once again and the cycle is continued.
The landscape changes wonderfully throughout the year, in the winter months the paddies flood to create reflective pools, in summer the paddies are alive with colour with growing rice stalks and after harvest in October/Novemeber each year the site becomes just bare earth.
A photographers dream.
Photo courtesy of Thierry Bornier.