These are the systems that constitute the registry of GIAHS, Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems. So far, this is an official recognition that FAO has granted to about 60 agricultural systems worldwide. They are diverse, locally adapted farming systems, managed for centuries by farmers, herders, fishermen and foresters who have produced extraordinary landscapes that combine agricultural biodiversity, resilient ecosystems and cultural heritage.
In this way, FAO aims to recognise agricultural systems that are increasingly threatened by diverse issues such as the consequences of climate change, the pressure on natural resources or the effects that migration has on its economic viability. Thus, the abandonment of traditional agricultural practices occurs, with the consequent loss of endemic and local varieties and species. The GIAHS program was launched by FAO sixteen years ago to promote the dynamic conservation of these systems, trying to strike a balance between conservation, sustainable adaptation and socio-economic development.
One of the latest additions to the GIAHS list is very familiar to us: the historic irrigation system of the nearby l’Horta de València, a network of irrigation ditches and traditional water management that for centuries has contributed to stabilising and regulating the supply and use of water, in connection with the Albufera, a landscape of inestimable value. This new incorporation was made public after the eleventh meeting of the FAO Committee in charge of evaluating GIAHS proposals. The irrigation system of the Valencian orchards joins other systems such as the rice terraces of Hani (China), the Andean agricultural system of the Cuzco-Puno Corridor (Peru) or the Maasai pastoral system (Kenya and Tanzania), bringing the total to about sixty.
You can find more information about GIAHS here.