Restoration of Stonewall Abandoned Terraces

Published: 11 March 2019
Last edited: 01 April 2019

The term “dry stone” indicates how the stones constituting the terrace retaining wall are put in place without the use of binders.  The wall has many benefits such as wind protection for some types of crop, while preserving the ecological niche of the numerous species of flora and fauna that colonize the stones, holes and soil of the terraces. It also serves as a passageway for farmers along the strip, interrupting the water runoff flow and favoring water accumulation and infiltration in the soil. It also plays an important role in preventing soil erosion. Abandoned terraces are widely distributed in the western slopes of the site located mainly at altitudes of 1000m to 1200m above sea level. Many terraces are abandoned with significant percentage of collapsed stonewalls that are colonized by natural vegetation forming different successional stages – from small scrub to very dense secondary forest stands. They also act as firebreaks, reducing the risk of fire spread, and providing access and water for firefighting.  

 

Classifications

Category
Technical interventions and infrastructure
Scale of implementation
Local
Phase of solution
Entirety

Enabling factors

The operation begins with a field assessment to evaluate the rehabilitation needs and to collect data. A socio-economic assessment can also be useful. The first step is the restoration of the walls following the traditional methods. Then the planting process begins with soil management, selection and placement of crops, followed by maintenance and care of the crops and soil. This includes pruning that will feed into the process: composting, briquettes or charcoal

Lessons learned

Given the importance of the stonewall terraces and the successful restoration of several sites, the Shouf Biosphere reserve is currently preparing guidelines for this activity in collaboration with FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture.