A Fieldwork for carbon sequestration function of Hani Rice Terraced Ecosystem in Honghe Prefecture, Yunnan, China

by Yu Bai,  our student committee member and a master’s student at the Minzu University of China. Connect with her through WeChatID: Tiger_Rose_1005

Hani Rice Terraced Ecosystem is one of the world’s wonders, which was cultivated by seven minorities represented by the Hani people during their harmonious dynamics with their surroundings for more than 1300 years. In this process, Hani Rice Terraced Ecosystem shows a marvellous landscape and forms a unique living pattern with significant economic, ecological, and aesthetic values. The Hani Rice Terraces spread over the whole Ailao mountains region of Southern Yunnan in China, including Yuanyang, Honghe, Jinping and Lvchun counties with widespread and continuous distribution. It covers an area of nearly 415,354,100 square metres with more than 3700 levels from the foot to the mountain peak at an elevation of about 2000 metres above sea level.

Hani Rice Terraced Ecosystem has been identified as the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) initiated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) by a few key elements: its food crop, variety diversity of rice, techniques of terraces construction, the traditional festival and food of the Hani people and virgin forest on June 14th of 2010. What’s more, it has also been listed on the World Cultural Heritage List by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Culture Organization (UNESCO) on June 22th of 2013, being the first living world heritage named after an ethnic minority with the theme of “farming” and “rice”. Thus, Hani Rice Terraced Ecosystem has become a rare double heritage in the world and is well-known for its characteristic “forest- village- terrace-river” structure, explaining why this system could be considered a representative of low-carbon, ecology and sustainability.

To respond to “Deep Interaction between Experts and GIAHS Sites” initiated by the Center of International Cooperation Service, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, we conducted a field survey in Honghe Prefecture of Yunnan province led by Professor Chunlin Long who is a member of the Second Committee of Experts for GIAHS of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. It investigates the biomass and biodiversity of different forests above the terraces to keep conserving water, especially in Yuanyang and Honghe counties including Bada, Duo Yishu, Lao Huzui, Niu Jiaozhai and Jiayin-Baohua terraced districts.

We observed and recorded 7 arborous quadrats of 20×20m in total, obtaining first-hand data of the watershed where the terraced rice paddy fields are located, which means to provide fundamental information while evaluating the carbon storage of the Hani Rice Terraced Ecosystem, and revealing how much contribution the ecosystem has made to “Carbon Neutral”.

For more details, please scan the QR codes below using WeChat:

All photos above were taken by and are the property of Yu Bai.

*Fieldwork in Yuanyang and Honghe counties of Yunnan province, conducted by Ethnobotanical Innovation Group of Minzu University of China.


1.      Luo BS, Liu B, Zhang HZ, Zhang HK, Li X, et al. Wild edible plants collected by Hani from terraced rice paddy agroecosystem in Honghe Prefecture, Yunnan, China. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, 2019; doi: https://doi.org/10.1186/s13002-019-0336-x

2.      Min QW, Zhang YX. Comparison between Agricultural Heritage Systems and Agricultural Landscape. China Agricultural University Journal of Social Sciences Edition, 2016; doi: 10.13240/j.cnki.caujsse.2016.02.002.

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