Published December 24, 2020 | Version 1
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Ten years of ITLA and the potentials of terraced landscapes

  • 1. Coordinator of ITLA, Honorary Research Fellow of the Center for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, University of Coventry,
  • 2. Honorary Research Fellow of the Center for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, University of Coventry, England


Herewith we highlight the growing awareness about the potentials of terraced landscapes emerging in ten years of ITLA (International Terraced Landscapes Alliance) by reviewing the main achievements of a rich and multidimensional exchange of experiences during four World Congresses in China (2010), Peru (2014), Italy (2016) and Canary Islands-Madeira (2019). The diverse actors: farmers, activists, and intellectuals who participated in these events interacted at different levels of human encounters, engaged in fruitful conversations, and listening to people from terraced communities. Every Congress yielded in a collective declaration showing a gradual growth of reflection about terraced agriculture as well as practical experiences endorsing alternative strategies and actions. We will convey the main conceptual elements surfacing the process of rethinking agriculture achieved from the IVth World Congress deliberations in La Gomera. They are inspired by the idea of reenchantment (Berman, 1981), which is essentially recuperating the experience of being part of nature and creating forms of Buen Vivir - Wellbeing (Gudynas, 2011). In terms of terraced landscapes, it means that farmers regain their dignity based on their right to choose new directions for the future and decide on what type of agriculture, crops, and forms of knowledge will enable them a long-lasting, sustainable world and peaceful social life (Anderson, 2020; Pimbert, 2018; Giraldo, 2018).  We continue this ITLA introduction by offering strategies and three practical examples of initiatives in different mountainous regions that illustrate ways of reenchantment of terraced landscapes entailing future visions of wellbeing and a culture of joy to live. And we close with an outlook of the uses of an inventory and the future deliberations of the next ITLA Congress in Bhutan and its preparatory step of the ITLA caravan and the Summer Academy in Punakha, Bhutan.


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