The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) sent an official letter to the Ministry of Agriculture of the PRC on the evening of Feb. 5, 2018 (Rome local time). It said that the “South China Terraced Paddy Fields System” has been inscribed as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System, a world heritage equivalent. The Xinhua Ziquejie Terraced Fields of Hunan Province, together with other three in Guangxi, Jiangxi, and Fujian provinces, were the four major parts of it.
Located in Shuiche Town, Xinhua County, Luodi City, Hunan Province, the Ziquejie Terraced Fields is one of the Heritage Irrigation Structures (HIS). It covers an area of more than 80,000 mu (5,333 ha.) with over 20,000 mu (1,333 ha.) in the core scenic area. It is the National 4A-level Tourist Attraction, National Park of China, National Natural and Cultural Heritages, and National Water Park of China, boasting the “Land of Terraced Fields”.
Ziquejie Terraced Fields, full of cultural charm, originated in the pre-Qin Dynasty (21st century – 221 BC), and flourished in the Song and Ming Dynasties (960 – 1644 AD). It belongs to the integrated historical and cultural relics of the rice culture in southern China and the Miao and Yao mountainous fishing and hunting culture. Situated between 500 and 1,200 meters above sea level with slopes ranging from 30 to 50 degrees, it consisted of multiples fields with different shapes and sizes. It is one of the best preserved paddy fields featuring traditional Chinese farming culture.