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Question on the difference between a berm and a terrace

 
pollinator
Posts: 154
Location: Ohio
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Would someone please clarify the difference between a berm and a terrace? From my reading I am having trouble discerning the difference.

Many thanks.
A.J.
 
Posts: 93
Location: New England
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A berm is a level space, shelf, or raised barrier separating two areas. A terrace is a step-like landform.

A berm is usually a narrow barrier at the bottoms of slopes or on flat areas. Terraces are flatter but drop off quickly on the sides.
 
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It gets confusing, as what most midwest farmers call terraces aren't. They are usually drainage ditches or berms.
 
steward
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I like pictures. This was what came up for google image search for terrace:



That goes along with what Dave said about terraces. The berms are more confusing to me though.. It is just like a little narrow hill.. At the bottom of a slope, right?

 
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I just think of a berm as a man made long hill. Sometimes at the bottom of a hill but not necessarily. When I was a girl the mountain bike crowd would build berms to ride on and over. A friend used the soil he dug out for his foundation to build a privacy berm around his property.

Terraces are like steps on the side of a hill that make a flat place. Often for agriculture. It makes a steep place more useful to people.
 
pollinator
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When you have 4 or more berms one after another in succession, then it is called a terrace, it is is just one or two it is just a berm. Not really a clean definition but it should get the job done.
 
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Berms, in cross section, have a rounded, mound, mini-hill shape.


Terraces, in cross section, invariably have a big/mostly flat cross section, like a stair.


So far as I know, the number of berms does not change the berms into a terrace.

Here is a cartoon of a berm shape. Notice it has a relatively small flat spot on top, but mostly not flat:

http://mathcentral.uregina.ca/QQ/database/QQ.09.11/h/katherine1.html


This site has a cross section of both a terrace and a berm, the terrace being noticeably flatter on the uphill portion:

http://www.gnb.ca/0173/30/0173300013-e.asp


Terraces are more similar to steps on a stairway.



Yes, they are very similar. And in the real world there are things that might be halfway in between, so the differences might not be so neat as the definitions suggest.


Functionally, a berm is usually used to stop something, wind, or water, or bullets or a view of the neighbors. A terrace is usually done to provide a flat area for agriculture on a steep hill that would otherwise be awkward to work on because of the steepness .


hth,

troy



 
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Location: Boyd, Texas
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To confuse things more, the swales and berms put in by the CCC back in the 30s and 40s were called terraces at least in the South so you will find that reference used in a lot of older writings.
 
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