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Originally published Friday, July 26, 2013 at 10:30 AM

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Sustenance comes in shades of green in Nepal

Yet, as the monsoon rains have become less predictable in recent years, rice-farming has become tougher.

NWTraveler editor

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ON THE EDGES of Nepalese villages, terraced rice fields undulate across the region's many slopes. In the mountainous nation, with Himalayan peaks surging above, villagers wrest a living from their small plots.

As it is in much of Asia, rice is the staff of life. Planted in paddies watered by monsoon rains, it's the most important crop in Nepal, creating shimmering patchworks alongside the country's winding roads and trails that lead to remote villages.

Yet, as the monsoon rains have become less predictable in recent years, rice-farming — which accounts for 50 percent of Nepal's agricultural production and requires lots of water — has become tougher. Some farmers are turning to other crops, some are trying to irrigate more, some are letting land lie fallow. And, so, as the climate changes, a traditional landscape and way of life changes, too, in Nepal.

Kristin R. Jackson is The Seattle Times NWTraveler editor. Contact her at kjackson@seattletimes.com.

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