Subak system under threat

Incredibly disturbing news about the subak irrigation system:

“The integrated rice-field irrigation system of Bali, Indonesia, has been awarded World Heritage Cultural Landscape status by UNESCO. It has maintained agricultural ecosystem services for over 1000 years but might not survive its popularity. With over 2 million visitors a year, the Balinese subak rice-field irrigation system is in danger of being loved to death. The landscape and its cultural traditions are so popular, farmers are selling their rice fields to developers, taking out of production about 1000 hectares a year’, said Steve Lansing, an ecological anthropologist who has been studying the system since 1974. ‘Because the entire system is integrated, when a few terraced fields are sold, the taxes on neighbouring farms increase, putting pressure on more farmers to sell, which threatens the viability of the whole. At the current rate of loss of rice fields, all subak are under threat and unless something is done in the next few years, the entire system could collapse’.
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