Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)
About Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)
Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) are farming systems that are recognized for their cultural, environmental, and socioeconomic significance. They are often characterized by a combination of traditional knowledge, biodiversity, and resilience to environmental and economic change.
Objectives of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)
The objectives of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) are to conserve and promote traditional agricultural practices that have significant cultural, environmental, and socioeconomic value. Some of the specific objectives of GIAHS include the following:
- Conserving biodiversity: GIAHS are often characterized by high levels of biodiversity, both in terms of the crops that are grown and the wild plants and animals that are associated with them. One of the main objectives of GIAHS is to conserve this biodiversity and ensure that it is passed on to future generations.
- Preserving cultural heritage: GIAHS are an important part of the cultural heritage of many communities worldwide. They are often closely linked to traditional knowledge and customs, and preserving these systems is important for preserving the cultural heritage of these communities.
- Improving rural livelihoods: Many GIAHS are used by small-scale farmers to provide food and income for themselves and their families. Promoting these systems can improve the livelihoods of these communities.
- Enhancing resilience to environmental and economic change: GIAHS can often adapt to changing environmental conditions and are resilient to economic shocks. Promoting these systems, it can help to ensure that communities are better able to cope with climate change and other challenges.
- Educating about traditional knowledge: GIAHS provides a way to learn about traditional agricultural practices, systems, and knowledge. This knowledge can be shared with future generations to ensure that it is not lost, and it also can be used to improve modern farming practices.
- Highlighting the importance of sustainable agricultural practices: GIAHS provides a practical demonstration of how to balance food production with the conservation of natural resources and can provide inspiration for more sustainable forms of agriculture.
GIAHS in India
India is home to a wide variety of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS). Some examples include:
- The terraced rice paddies of the northeastern states of India, such as Meghalaya and Nagaland. These traditional systems are known for their high productivity and are an important part of the cultural heritage of the region.
- The agroforestry systems of the Western Ghats, involve the integration of trees with crops and livestock. These systems are known for their biodiversity and the many ecosystem services they provide, such as soil conservation and carbon sequestration.
- The traditional irrigation systems of the Kuttanad region in Kerala, involve a complex network of canals, backwaters, and dikes that are used to flood the fields and grow rice. This system is known for its high productivity and efficient use of water resources.
- The community-managed Tank System of Southern India involves the construction and management of tanks or reservoirs by local communities to provide irrigation to the fields.
- The Ahinsa Farming system of Rajasthan is a sustainable traditional farming method that follows peaceful co-existence between farmers and their livestock.
- The Dryland Farming system of the Deccan Plateau is a traditional method of farming that is practised by farmers in dryland regions of India, where the annual rainfall is less than 500 mm.
These are just a few examples of GIAHS in India, and there are many more that are important for their cultural, environmental, and socioeconomic significance. Many of these systems are under threat due to increasing population pressure, urbanization, and other factors.
Hello, I am Sonu Verma, M.Sc. (Horti.) Agriculture content writer, and an enthusiast who loves to share knowledge. No Culture Without Agriculture.