Term (French terrasse for pile-up of earth, derived from Latin terra for earth) for a common form of vineyard design on slopes and especially steep slopes, where the vineyards have to be artificially laid out. The rows of vines must be aligned at right angles to the slope; in extreme cases, only one row of vines is planted per terrace. The individual terraces are often supported by dry stone walls. Dry stone walling has been included in the UNESCO list of intangible world cultural heritage as a centuries-old craft. In the process, the stones are placed directly on top of each other without any connecting material. The walls, interspersed with many crevices and caves, provide a perfect habitat for a variety of plants and animals. Besides maintaining a humus layer, they store water and heat and have a positive effect on the microclimate in the vineyard. This makes laborious cultivation easier or even possible in the first place and prevents erosion. Such vineyards with steep slopes are often found in vineyards at high altitudes.
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