Paddy cultivation plays a significant and vital role on rice production. Most of the global population depends on the 480 million tons of rice produced each year as the basis for their lives. While about 90% of the world’s 160 million hectares of paddy fields are in Asian countries, mainly in monsoon regions, paddies are also seen in North America and Africa, even in dry regions. Most of the paddy fields are flooded naturally or artificially during rice production period. In the case that paddy fields are kept submerged artificially, hydraulic structures are required. Irrigated paddy fields produce traditionally much rice, taking befits of stable water supply and continuous ponding. Paddy fields are simultaneously performing other functions for local environment, including climate mitigation, flood control, groundwater recharge, biodiversity, and ecosystem development. On the other hand, since paddy fields require much water and modify the original and natural hydrological regime, they might cause adverse effect on local environment. Much water supply by irrigation sometimes requires drainage system, which also might alter local water balance. In this chapter, implication of paddy fields as artificial and temporal wetland is reviewed comprehensively with various aspects, focusing mainly on their role for local hydrological environment.
Part of the book: Irrigation in Agroecosystems