Build a Rice Paddy

  • By Rick Groleau
  • Posted 12.18.00
  • NOVA

Terraced rice paddies, masterpieces of ancient engineering, have existed in China, the Philippines, and elsewhere for as long as two millennia. The building of these stepped paddies—done without the aid of machinery—is no minor undertaking. How, then, do farmers construct them? Here, follow the evolution of a new paddy.

Launch Interactive Printable Version

See how farmers have traditionally constructed elegant and sturdy terraces for growing rice.

This feature originally appeared on the site for the NOVA program Japan's Secret Garden.


Primary source: Ethnographic Atlas of Ifugao, by Harold C. Conklin. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980.

Related Links

  • Miracle of Rice

    Rice feeds the world. Explore the history and future of this indispensable grain, including its genetic engineering.

  • China's Age of Invention

    Explore how the Song Dynasty gave rise to printing, paper money, gunpowder, the compass, and other innovations.

  • Rat Attack

    Why do huge swarms of rats overrun a bamboo forest in India once every half-century?


You need the Flash Player plug-in to view this content.