Terrace Agriculture – Water Conservation

The garden of the Bethlehem Natural History museum is divided into sections. Each section is related to the gardens research. One of the sections contains a terrace agriculture setup. 

Terraced fields can be found throughout the Palestinian Territories. By cutting the hillside into flat terraces, more land can be opened up for cultivation. Many terraces contain Olea europea groves, these are also grazed by goats.

The museums terraces are designed to be a “No Dig” set up (That’s no annual digging after you have dug them!). A trench is dug behind the terrace walls and lined with stone. This collects water during the rainy seasons. The water fills the trench then soaks slowly into the ground, irrigating the terrace deeply. Below I’ve included a diagram showing how the trench collects water and pictures of the trench being constructed.

Displaying and teaching traditional agricultural techniques is highly beneficial. In an area where man made resources can be expensive and scarce, traditional methods are very useful. They typically require minimal inputs, of materials found in the local area. The only limit is the number of hours you can spend digging in the heat!


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