A traditional water-land utilization techniqueRapa Surajas
developed by Chinese ancestors.
The map illustrates the landscape condition of the area which is located inside the Lixiahe plain. The geographical condition is a low-lying area surrounded by higher land as the borders. Lixiahe plain is highly influenced by the rivers and the Yellow Sea since it is a deltaic area with an average height of 2.5 meters above sea level. The development of the Yellow river brought various types of soil and sedimentation to the area, and this led to the changed of the ecological condition of the wetland.
Landscape condition is not the only factor that triggered the Chinese ancestor to invent the raised field, but the sociological condition was also a significant aspect. Xinghua is located in the area surrounded by major rivers which were distinctively an important commercial trade area (Yanying etl., 2014). The population overgrew which led to massive food demand. This essential problem can only be solved by increasing the cultivable area (The People’s Government of Xinghua City ,2014).
As a consequence, Xinghua people began to explore the possibility to increase cultivable land. One of the potentials brought by the occurrence of the hygrophytes which began to grow in the area (The People’s Government of Xinghua City, 2014), this is the indicator of the fertile soil quality brought by the yellow river. Xinghua people began to dig the soil from the river and mounding the earth platform to create the floating farmland. It is when the raised field has begun to form.
More than thousands of raised fields had been constructed to produce agricultural products for the community. It created a unique landscape pattern for the area. Xinghua became the important cultivated land and the Duotian-raised field also contributed to a flood control system of the area.
Although this technique has been applied in various areas all over the world, Xinghua Duotian is one of the few traditional systems which is still functional. Its long history and adaptability to the excessive water condition make Xinghua Duotian different from other raised field systems. It is recognized as an example of sustainability in agriculture (The People’s Government of Xinghua City, 2014).
The previous flood-prone area has been sustainably utilized by combining forestry, agriculture and aquaculture. The trees planted on the ridges provided fruits and food for the ducks, feeding fishes in the ditches, raising crabs and lobsters inside the soil of the raised field. The natural aqua-planting became a great source of food for birds and ducks while their roots acted as a high quality fertilizer (The People’s Government of Xinghua City, 2014). The new ecological network has contributed to the growth of the crops and created a remarkable landscape to attract a discrete number of tourists. The area is fully established, bringing considerable economic benefits while securing biodiversity and ecosystem services.