Estimating the Extent and Damage of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the Ifugao Rice Terraces, Philippines

Nathaniel C Bantayan, Margaret M Calderon, Josefina T Dizon, Asa Jose U Sajise, Myranel G Salvador
Vol 15 No 1 (2012), pp. 1-5




The extent of the Ifugao Rice Terraces (IRT) in the four municipalities comprising the inscribed UNESCO World Heritage Sites has never been fully explained and visualized in its totality. While several attempts have been made in the past to give an indication of the extent of IRT, none has so far purposively gone to the records as well as solicited data from the stakeholders themselves. In 2004, a research report assumed a 5% damage/ abandonment based on a sampling of two sites (JBIC 2004). The same report tracked the collapse of the terraces at various periods from 1966 to 2004 and found an average damage size of 0.10 ha. In addition, this research tried to estimate the currently unproductive IRT either due to abandonment or damage. The various estimates of IRT and other relevant biophysical parameters were generated using geographic information system (GIS).

The UNESCO reclassifi ed IRT and put it on the endangered list citing insuffi cient irrigation facilities, unregulated cropping schedule, and annual cropping pattern. More importantly, one of the reasons for the downgrading is the lack of records on the extent of damage. The extent of IRT and its damage was estimated specifi cally in focusing on the barangays of the four municipalities that are listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In the site, there are almost 11,000 ha of rice fi elds. On the basis of the range of damage size per damage point of a minimum of 0.05 ha and a maximum of 0.15 ha, the total damage is between 44 ha and 123 ha (or 4.4% to 12.2%).


Keywords: community mapping, geographic information systems (GIS), Ifugao Rice Terraces

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