Cheongsando Gudeuljangnon rice paddy
Traditionally, Cheongsando Island had an agricultural environment that was somewhat disadvantageous for paddy agriculture due to steep slopes, sandy soil with rocks and rapid drainage, and a scarcity of water for paddy farming. "Gudeuljang rice paddies" are a product of efforts of Cheongsando Island residents. Gudeuljang rice paddies are artificial rice paddies made from re-engineering the natural environment to increase rice production in areas with disadvantageous soil conditions. The main characteristics of Cheongsando Gudeuljang rice paddies are culverts constructed from stacked stones; these culverts are used as aqueducts to preserve effective surface and underground irrigation and drainage systems. The Cheongsando Island residents call these paddies constructed on stone walls, "Gudeuljangnon," because the techniques and forms of stone stacking used to construct them is similar to the Gudeuljang, a flagstone used for Ondol-the traditional Korean home heating system.
Value of the Agricultural Heritage SystemGudeuljang rice paddies have been continually constructed on Cheongsando Island between the 17th and the mid-20th centuries. At first glance, Gudeuljang rice paddies appear to be similar to typical terraced fields, but they have a significantly different irrigation system. Gudeuljang rice paddies maximize the usable area of the land by constructing the paddies above stacked rocks of various sizes, to increase the agricultural productivity of Cheongsando Island, which has scarce arable land.
In normal terraces, water and drainage flow on the surface, but in Gudeuljang rice paddies, underground aqueducts are used at upper and lower levels. It is unique in that a large flagstone (Gudeul) is used to control water flow by damming water as required for cultivation or releasing it to the paddy below. These characteristics, which facilitated water management, allowed the land to be easily converted between rice paddies and fields depending on the level of precipitation. The traditional irrigation management system of Gudeuljang rice paddy also helped support continued operation of the "cooperative labor system" practiced by residents of Cheongsando Island. Every year, at the beginning of the farming season, the residents of nearby rice paddies gather together to construct the aqueducts, and they autonomously determine the use of water for agriculture. Furthermore, the "Soeundu" system, in which residents share cattle, has been operated as a traditional cooperative tilling system. However, due to changes in the environment of agricultural production, cooperative agriculture remains only as a communal exchange of labor.