The processes of heritage and heritage conservation should be considered interdisciplinary. For in heritage conservation one deals with government policy, micro and macroeconomics, ecology, and anthropology. It is necessary that all disciplines form cohesive relationships in order to promote the protection of world heritage sites. This principle is illustrated vary well in the Philippines. The Ifugao people are a native people of the Ifugao providence. Here the ancestors of current Ifugao built elaborate rice terraces. These terraces are at a very high elevation and thus produce a grain unique to the region. Today the providence and people of Ifugao are modernizing. The town surrounding the rice providence is growing. This is due to the publicity the rice terraces received after their inscription the World Heritage List in 1995. Though UNESCO did aid in the management of the ecology of the area the Ifugao people already used a form of “traditional ancestral land use management.”(Rice Terraces, UNESCO). According to the UNESCO book World Heritage: Benefits Beyond Borders the rice terraces of the Ifugao illustrate a civilization that has resisted modernization and survived multiple world wars to continue the cultural practices of the region. The Ifugao culture is deeply ingrained in rice (no pun intended). Many of the rites and rituals of the Ifugao people are related the agriculture of rice. This agro-socio-cultural link promotes sustainable heritage through the connection the Ifugao share with the land.
Though the methods of the Ifugao do aid in the conservation of the rice terraces many of the problems of modernization are slowly creeping in. Sustainability in the modern world should include a form of regulated economic growth. This is relevant in the Ifugao community as the number of tourists is on the rise. Though no negative effects of tourism are being seen the local government has set up a tourism master plan. This likely includes a land management and infrastructure strategy. The land management will clearly define the areas that allow the building of allocation sites without compromising the authenticity of the site. An infrastructure restoration is also necessary, as the resources to sustain tourism must not come from the water supply that feeds the rice terraces.
The problems faced by modernization will eventually impact the Ifugao people. Though these problems will be swiftly resolved. An important point to consider is that the Ifugao rice terraces are two thousand years old. Through those two thousand years many countries and cultures have “modernized” yet the traditions of the Ifugao remain. The Ifugao are an example of a culture that has resisted modernization and will likely continue to do so. With the tools of oral history and a connection to the rice terraces aids in preservation of heritage. Working in tandem with UNESCO will provide the locals with the outside funding necessary to protect the site. With the tools of legislation and an understanding of ecosystems UNESCO should provide a form of protection that the locals could not achieve. This protection will aid the Ifugao people in preserving their culture. This preservation will lead to sustainable heritage practices.
An interesting perspective on this subject is provided here