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This pre-colonial heritage site is ‘deteriorating’.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations revealed that the Ifugao Rice Terraces are currently "in a very critical stage of deterioration due to urban development and environmental abuse".
The Ifugao Rice Terraces are classified as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) and declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.
“The continued survival of the terraces is threatened by various factors such as environmental degradation, unregulated development and neglect brought about by urbanization and changing values,” the FAO said.
In a report of the Philippine Star, it is reiterated that the Ifugao Rice Terraces had been “self-sufficient in food, timber, and water because of an organization of the landscape divided into five components, including woodlot and communal forest, swidden farms, rice terraces, settlement areas, and water bodies, and irrigation systems.”
The structure of the terraces depicts a sophisticated system of livelihood and landscape management. The availability of water in the area affects the Ifugaos building the terraces, as well as greatly affecting the ancient irrigation system present.
The Ifugao Rice Terraces were carved into the mountains by ancestors of the indigenous people about 2,000 years ago.