Ogburn, Charles B. Cooperative Extension Service, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama.
Last reviewed:January 2020
- Types of terraces
- Terrace outlets
- Parallel terraces
- Construction equipment
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A method of shaping land to control erosion on slopes of rolling land used for cropping and other purposes. In early practice the land was shaped into a series of nearly level benches or steplike formations. Modern practice in terracing, however, consists of the construction of low-graded channels or levees to carry the excess rainfall from the land at nonerosive velocities. The physical principle involved is that, when water is spread in a shallow stream, its flow is retarded by the roughness of the bottom of the channel and its carrying, or erosive, power is reduced. Since direct impact of rainfall on bare land churns up the soil and the stirring effect keeps it in suspension in overland flow and rills, terracing does not prevent sheet erosion. It serves only to prevent destruction of agricultural land by gullying and must be supplemented by other erosion-control practices, such as grass rotation, cover crops, mulching, contour farming, strip cropping, and increased organic matter content.
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