Photographer's Note

Environmentally Beneficial Functions of Rice/Paddy Cultivation

Rice is the staple food of about the half the human race (World population is 6.5 billion today), and of the total area of 153 million hectares, over 90 percent is grown in southern and eastern Asia, which are major centers of the world population.

Following are some of the environmentally beneficial functions of rice/paddy cultivation:

Flood control: Paddy is normally grown in areas with high rainfall. High rainfall in short periods normally cause flooding. The levee of the rice field functions like a dike and provides some capacity to store water thereby reduce flooding impact. Rice plants actively grow under these submerged conditions where no other crop can thrive.

Groundwater recharge: The water in the rice fields percolate through the soil and recharges the groundwater. Some of these water may flow to the river as sub-surface flow and some to recharge the ground water.

A cooling effect : When water evaporates from the surfaces of rice fields and plants into the atmosphere, it takes up heat from the air, lowering the canopy and surrounding temperature.

Protection of soil erosion: Rice fields are flat with no slope, bounded by levees; therefore no soil losses occur. They, however, retain any soil eroded from the uplands.

Cleaning atmosphere: Photosynthesis of green plants has dual functions to clean the atmosphere via carbon dioxide intake and oxygen generation. It is difficult to put values on the economical impact of rice cultivation for refreshing atmosphere, because the public benefit functions are not easily discernible. The role of agriculture in reducing harmful substances such as carbon dioxide produced by industries is of great importance. This, of course, applies to other crops as well.

Water purification: In case, the irrigated water contains high nitrogen and phosphorus into the fields from surrounding landscape/environment, these are consumed by rice plants and adsorbed onto the soil particles. Therefore, levels of nitrogen and phosphorus in the outgoing water are much lower than those in the income water.

Reduction of harmful effects: In paddy fields, harmful substances are removed from the rhizosphere and hence continuous rice cultivation is possible, supporting high population in rice growing regions of the world.

Weed control: Generally, less weeds are found in the rice fields than in the upland fields because of submergence water has a weeding effect, resulting in less use of pesticides thereby reducing chemical pollution.

Protecting forests and wildlife : The traditional rice cultivation systems functions to protect forests and wildlife, indirectly. The rice straw and rice bran are used as fuel and animal feeds, which greatly reduce the need for woods and grasses thus protecting the natural environment as well as wildlife.

Preservation of natural beauty: Rice cultivation offers vast vivid green fields providing a feeling of fruitfulness during the season.

Social and cultural values: Examples of the social and cultural impact of rice cultivation may be: elevating the rural economy, preserving traditional native customs, reducing migration to cities; religious ceremonies link the importance of rice grains in several parts of Asia and thus Rice has its own unique cultural value, unrivalled by other crops.

Rice cultivation as an industry: Rice cultivation could be considered as an industry that has a function to preserve the natural environment. In addition to food production, it sustains several associate activities which has the multiplier impact on industries and job creation. - 21k -

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: debabrata hazra (knowdebu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 148 W: 0 N: 90] (964)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2008-02-10
  • Categories: Nature
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2008-03-03 9:35
Viewed: 3757
Points: 0
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Additional Photos by debabrata hazra (knowdebu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 148 W: 0 N: 90] (964)
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