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Global Dimensions of Modern China's Environmental History

Micah Muscolino
Georgetown University



     Environmental history concerns how environmental factors have shaped human society, as well as how human activities have shaped the environment. In the writing of Chinese history, interactions between people and their environment have long been central to studies of China's agrarian economy, with their focus on land use, irrigation, and other implicitly environmental questions. This observation applies to scholars publishing in English, but especially to those writing in Chinese and Japanese.1 Only in the last decade, however, has Chinese environmental history turned into a dynamic and expansive subfield. Clearly, contemporary concerns about the deteriorating state of the environment in today's China have helped Chinese environmental history come into its own by attracting attention to alterations of the natural world in China's past.

     In the classroom, some of the most difficult moments when teaching China's environmental history or its contemporary environmental dilemmas come when students decry how badly "they" (meaning people in China) have treated "their" environment. Implicitly, this type of statement holds up Chinese society as an environmental Other, contrasting its ecological irresponsibility with "our" more civilized and enlightened attitudes towards nature. More importantly, this perspective neglects that the world's environmental crises are in no way limited to China. The world's most pressing environmental problems – from climate change, to strained petroleum reserves, to the depletion of marine fisheries – have a distinctly global character and demand global solutions. These types of environmental issues cannot be fully understood if viewed strictly in terms of China or any other artificially bounded political unit.

     Global perspectives hold equal importance when historians think about past interactions between humans and the environment. The interconnectedness of the earth's ecosystem makes it impossible to limit environmental histories to the borders of a single state or society. In addition to tracing environmental change on the local and regional scales, therefore, historians have to stay attuned to transnational and global ecological processes that go beyond human-constructed political boundaries.2 To be sure, environmental history does not always have to be written from a global or transnational perspective. Local and regional studies are necessary to figure out what exactly happened to the environment in different places and times, and to avoid easy generalizations about ecological impacts. Nevertheless, gauging the significance of particular environmental phenomena requires that historians shift to a larger scale of analysis and situate them within the "big picture." Even when they begin with their focus on a single locality or region, environmental historians frequently discover that the topics of their research intersect with worldwide ecological trends.

     For this reason, it should come as little surprise that the environmental history of modern China contains numerous examples of how global currents have transformed China's natural landscape. As this brief survey of some of the most important English-language studies in the field of Chinese environmental history will demonstrate, these global trends make it necessary to integrate China with the wider world. The purpose of this commentary is to offer a fresh, global perspective on the historiography of modern China's environment for world history teachers who do not specialize in this particular field. For this reason, it does not discuss growing body of scholarship in Chinese, Japanese, or other European languages such as German or French. Because this literature has done much to influence the works under review, their bibliographies should be the court of first resort for anyone seeking to gain a familiarity with scholarship in other languages.

Climate and Food Supply

     Given the tenor of today's environmental concerns, it seems fitting to start with climate. Cereal grains, like all plant life, require specific amounts of warmth, water, and sunlight to grow. Too much or too little of any of these elements has negative consequences for crop yields. Under colder conditions, agricultural production suffered and food shortages could rear their head. Warmer climates, by contrast, tended to support increased agrarian output. Seasonal and annual fluctuations in weather thus affected harvests, peasant livelihoods, and the financial bases of pre-modern states. For these reasons, declining global temperatures had a tremendous effect on agricultural societies and states across the globe.

     Environmental historians of China generally confirm that seventeenth century China experienced a cooling trend analogous to a so-called "Little Ice Age" that some believe to have occurred in Europe between approximately 1550 and 1700. In the case of pre-modern China, documentary sources make it possible to reconstruct historical climate and its impact on agricultural production with relative precision. Imperial officials kept detailed records of harvests and natural disasters, which still exist in Chinese archives; local histories (gazetteers) noted the occurrence of floods, droughts, and other meteorological events. Using these sources, Robert Marks' path-breaking environmental history of South China's Lingnan region demonstrated that the period from roughly 1550-1700 experienced cooler temperatures compared to other periods. In South China, global climate fluctuations had an an adverse effect on agricultural yields. Colder temperatures shortened growing seasons, causing harvests to markedly decrease. Evidence from other regions of China confirms that 1550-1750 exhibited cooling trends similar to that experienced in Europe.3

     Some historians have argued that in the 1630s and 1640s, when hemispheric climate rhythms appear to have hit a low point, climatic conditions combined with other factors to spark political upheavals and breakdown of states across Europe and Asia.4 In similar fashion, some historians of China have hypothesized that the crop failures and food shortages of the seventeenth century hastened the fall of the ruling Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Severe weather during the early seventeenth century destroyed crops, jeopardizing many people's food entitlements. Major floods followed extreme droughts. The Ming, already showing signs of decline, failed to mobilize effective relief. Some survivors joined the ranks of the armed rebels who launched uprisings in north and northwest China in the 1630s, which brought the Ming dynasty to its knees in 1644.5 On the other hand, colder weather on China's northeastern frontier may have been among the factors that stimulated incursions on China's resources by the Manchus, who founded the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) in the wake of the Ming's collapse.6 Following the consolidation of Qing rule, a more favorable climate contributed to China's economic recovery, as agricultural yields rose along with average temperatures from the late 1690s through the 1700s.7

     Even during the generally warmer eighteenth century, short-term fluctuations in temperature still affected agricultural production. Yet Lillian Li, in her authoritative study of famine control in North China's Hebei province, cautions against climatic reductionism: "What is important about the climate of the past or present is not that it directly causes particular political, economic, or social results, but rather the way in which politics, economy, and society have adapted to the weather and other environmental challenges."8 Indeed, the poor harvests of the early 1630s would have had little significance if the Ming state had been able to gather and mobilize the resources needed to preserve the status quo. It did not, and the empire collapsed.9 At the height of its power and effectiveness in the 1700s, by contrast, the Qing dynasty's bureaucracy proved especially skilled at adapting and responding to environmental challenges. To guard against poor harvests, as research by Li and other economic historians has made clear, the Qing state carefully managed China's food supply by maintaining reserve granaries and relied on markets to move grain from areas that enjoyed surpluses to those facing shortages.10

     The Qing state's ability to minimize the adverse effect of climate fluctuation on the agrarian economy stands as a unique achievement in the pre-modern world. However, cushioning people from the impact of natural disasters also carried the unintended consequence of increased long-term vulnerability as population pressure mounted and made natural disasters more severe. Managing these human interactions with China's unpredictable environment also required massive government investments and constant bureaucratic attention. When the Qing Empire's priorities shifted, as they did after the intrusion of Western powers into China's maritime realm in the nineteenth century, the delicate balance between people and the environment broke down.11

Population Growth and Ecological Exchange

     The aforementioned population expansion was another clear parallel between China and the larger world. China's population, which had grown in the 1400s and early 1500s, fell precipitously with the onset of cooler temperatures, social disorder, and military upheavals in the early 1600s. Under the Qing, China's population entered a new phase of growth. In 1644 the Qing Empire had a population of 140 million. By 1800 its population had more than doubled to over 350 million. Beginning from the late 1960s, eminent practitioners of what Paul Cohen termed "China Centered History" began to reveal how that demographic expansion contributed to fundamentally transforming Chinese society prior to its nineteenth-century encounter with the West.12 However, few China specialists have noted that population growth under the Qing coincided with larger global trends. In 1500 the world's population stood at around 450 million. In 1700 it had grown to about 610 million, and by 1800 it had reached 900 million. Indeed, Europe's population grew only slightly slower than China's during these centuries. For this reason, teachers need to put China's late imperial population boom in a global perspective.

     So what explains the dramatic population increase that occurred in China and the rest of the world in the eighteenth century? The answers to this question are still unclear, but historians agree on several variables. Increased agricultural output that came with the trend towards warmer temperatures starting in the late 1600s and the Qing state's successful regulation of China's food supply most certainly played a role, but global patterns of ecological exchange and migration may have also been among the contributing factors.

     Global exchanges of foodstuffs were of great importance in these demographic trends. From the sixteenth century, highly productive crop varieties from the Americas made their way to China and throughout the rest of the world. Because these kinds of plants could grow where traditional crops could not, they increased caloric intake for human populations. Maize reached Morocco and West Africa from the Americas as early as the sixteenth century. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, maize came to southern Africa, where it soon turned into the region's staple food crop.13 It was also during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that maize and sweet potatoes first reached China, but their spread throughout the country took place during the eighteenth. Under favorable climatic conditions, the gradual diffusion of crops from the Americas made it possible to open up land in China that had previously been impossible to farm. As the amount of cultivated land increased, so could China's population.14 In the long run, on the other hand, population growth became one of the major causes of the environmental crises that began to emerge in many parts of China by the early 1800s.

     Furthermore, the increased frequency of interactions between various regions of the globe after the 1500s exposed more people to the same infections and gave them similar antibodies, which decreased the number of deaths due to major epidemics. Even though they took a deadly toll on populations that encountered them for the first time, global exchanges of disease microbes eventually led to decreased mortality due to these infections. For reasons that are still poorly understood, epidemic disease had basically disappeared from China by the Qing. By the eighteenth century, according to J.R. McNeill, China was probably the "most epidemiologically experienced" society in the world. As he puts it, "Illness and death haunted all of China, and the toll on children and other immunological naifs probably ranked among the highest anywhere in the world. But those who survived childhood, especially in southern China, where the variety of lethal infections was greatest, probably had the most alert and active (human) immune systems on earth ... The Chinese were safe from the microbial imperialism of other peoples, and able to inflict its costs upon their less epidemiologically experienced neighbors."15 This epidemiological experience gave Chinese populations a distinct advantage as they expanded at the expense of other ethnic groups on China's frontiers under the Qing.

Frontier Settlement

     During the 1700s, in China and other parts of the globe, population growth provided settlers for migration into previously unsettled frontier regions. Throughout the world, this frontier settlement led to dramatic ecological transformations. Many environmental historians have focused on the impact of Europeans on the North American frontier during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. But as Peter Perdue has brilliantly demonstrated, this Western European expansion was only one component of a worldwide broadening of agricultural frontiers. Like their European counterparts, Chinese migrated far and wide (into regions now considered part of western China) in search of land and other natural resources, transforming societies and ecosystems in the process.16

     American food plants had the greatest effect during the Qing, when China's growing population took advantage of them to colonize China's interior frontiers. Migrants spread maize and sweet potatoes all over China as they filled up its frontier regions. These were ideal pioneer's crops, which could grow without much fertilizer or irrigation, making it possible to cultivate ecologically fragile highlands. Thanks to these qualities, New World crops also facilitated the exploitation of timber and mineral resources in China's mountain and forest areas. The opening up of these lands carried severe ecological consequences, since land clearance and removal of vegetation cover from hillsides intensified soil erosion. As farmers moved up hillsides, earth came down and filled up China's rivers. By the end of the 1700s siltation had disrupted water control systems and started to make flooding more frequent.17

     The Qing conquest of Central Eurasia, undertaken to counter strategic threats posed by Mongol confederations, best illustrates the analogous ecological effects of Chinese and European frontier expansion. Many Central Eurasian peoples had only limited contact with European and Asian disease pools prior to the eighteenth century. Hence, smallpox and other diseases took a catastrophic toll on Mongols who came into contact with Chinese settlers. According to a nineteenth-century Chinese estimate, smallpox epidemics killed forty percent of the Qing Empire's most formidable military rivals, the Zunghar Mongols based in the north of what is today China's Xinjiang Province.18 These Inner Asian epidemics present an obvious parallel with the effects of smallpox on the indigenous population of the Americas after their initial contact with Europeans.

     At the same time, the spread of Chinese agricultural settlement transformed the grasslands of Inner Asia in ways similar to the European alteration of the landscape of North America. With substantial government encouragement, Han Chinese settlers converted huge tracts of grasslands for agricultural cultivation, depriving pastoral nomads and their flocks of vital resources. Along with Romanov Russia, the other great empire of eighteenth century Eurasia, the Qing state settled previously nomadic populations and subjected them to taxation. Ecological change was the result. By the early twentieth century, excess land clearance without sufficient irrigation had caused environmental problems on the steppes of Eurasia the form of widespread desertification.19

     In Guizhou, on the Qing's southwestern frontier, Han colonizers employed ecological warfare to suppress fierce resistance by the indigenous Miao ethnic group. Imperial military forces violently transformed Guizhou's environment to achieve frontier security and political control. Han settlers destroyed forests to eliminate the hiding places from which the Miao launched raids. Converting these lands to Han-style settled agriculture deprived the Miao of their traditional way of life, forcing them to either acculturate or perish.20 For world history teachers, these and other instances of frontier expansion in late imperial China invite comparison with the ecological transformations that furthered the extension of European conquest of indigenous populations in the Americas and other parts of the globe.

Perceptions of Nature and Global Modernity

     Although global climate and ecological exchanges shaped China's pre-modern environmental history, the introduction of new forms of knowledge about the environment distinguished the early twentieth century from earlier periods. According to the anthropologist Robert Weller, traditional Chinese views of the environment – whether Confucian, Daoist, or Buddhist – understood people as connected to "heaven and earth" by the flow of vital energies (qi) that permeated the cosmos. To be sure, as the numerous forms of environmental degradation that emerged in pre-modern China make evident, this "anthropocosmic" view of nature did not prevent people from ruthlessly exploiting nature as they harnessed its energies for their benefit.

     A major departure took place at the beginning of the twentieth century, when Western ideas about the environment filtered into China, often by way of Japan. Indeed, as Weller shows, the word most often translated as "nature" in modern China – ziran – entered the Chinese lexicon as a loan word from Japanese during the 1910s. Influenced by global environmental discourses, modern Chinese intellectuals and political elites increasingly adopted the "post-Enlightenment" view of nature as an objectified realm apart from and in opposition to culture. In its modern guise, nature existed as a mechanism for humans to understand through science and manipulate through engineering. The split between nature and human society that defined this worldview contrasted sharply with interconnectedness between people and the environment seen in earlier Chinese ideas.21

     Thanks to formal exchanges of scholars and students, scientific methods of environmental management that had originated from foreign countries took center stage in China during the Republican period (1911-1949). In the realms of forestry and water control, international advisors and foreign-trained Chinese specialists held that the solution to China's environmental problems lay in the application of modern science and technology.22

     Under the Republic, constant political instability and the devastation caused by Japan's invasion of China after 1937 frustrated the efforts of these environmental technocrats. Yet many of the projects that China's foreign-trained and foreign-influenced environmental specialists advocated came to fruition after the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. Despite their ideological differences, the leaders of China's Communist and Nationalist parties engaged in exploitation of nature to achieve rapid economic development with equal vigor.23 Their shared objectives epitomized the project of modernity pursued in China as well as countries throughout the twentieth-century world. In most instances, this global effort to achieve efficient development of the earth's resources through technology and scientific management not only failed to alleviate existing problems, but also led to greater environmental destruction.

     This faith in engineering's ability to solve the problems that result from the exploitation of nature for human benefit comes across quite clearly in large-scale plans to fix China's water problems through massive dams and irrigation networks. Such feats of environmental engineering have obvious similarities with massive systems of dams and hydropower stations constructed along the Tennessee and Columbia River in the United States and on Volga and other rivers in the Soviet Union. These linkages have been direct, as Chinese hydraulic engineers trained with American technical advisors in the Republican period and Soviet ones during the 1950s. Once again, China's modern experience paralleled and was interwoven with a larger global process.24

     The history of China's fishing industry, as I have discussed elsewhere, illustrates these connections and continuities. From the early 1900s through the 1950s, Chinese fishery experts who had received their education in Japan came to believe that rationalized, scientific management would make exploitation of resources more efficient and manipulate nature for maximum production.25 This vision of fishery management resembled what James Scott calls high-modernist ideology, rooted in a confidence that centralized planning could bring scientific and technical progress, limitless expansion of production, and rationalized control of the environment. Stimulus for these interventions came from transnational competition from Japan's mechanized fishing fleet, which began to fish in waters off the coast of China during the 1920s and 1930s after exhausting other marine resources in the East China Sea.26

     Prior to 1949, fishery experts fell short of carrying out their plans to remake relationships between society and the marine environment. When successfully implemented under the PRC government in the 1950s, state-led fishery development maximized economic production and fiscal extraction for a short time, but led to the collapse of commercially important fish species.27 Judith Shapiro argues that a polarizing, adversarial conception of the environment that defined Maoist ideology accounts for the acceleration of ecological devastation experienced in China after 1949.28 In China's fisheries, as in other sectors, the PRC stance towards nature grew out of developmental plans that emerged earlier in the twentieth century. Intensified environmental degradation in China after 1949 had much deeper roots in the modernist drive to re-engineer the environment in the name of rapid industrial development. Other ideological differences aside, this shared commitment to environmental modernity reveals an important similarity between the China's Nationalist and Communist regimes.


     The environmental crises currently facing contemporary China are undeniable, but these challenges do not belong to China alone. To a large extent, these problems have to be seen in terms of China's history of encounters with global environmental trends. These global influences intertwined with social, economic, and environmental conditions that prevailed in different regions of China, giving Chinese environmental history its unique character. Any perspective that centers on China in isolation from world history, as I have tried to demonstrate, will inevitably fail to appreciate the global character of these environmental transformations.

     Moreover, putting modern China's environmental history in a global context also highlights its distinctiveness. This preliminary survey of findings in the field of Chinese environmental history suggests that these features include the late imperial Chinese state's remarkable capacity to balance natural resources and human needs, China's immunological experience, and the effectiveness with which Chinese society took advantage of opportunities to fill up unexploited ecological frontiers made possible by the adoption of New World crops. These adaptations proved remarkably effective during the late 1600s and throughout much of the 1700s, making it possible for Chinese society to exploit a range of ecosystems with few parallels in the pre-modern world. In his massive overview of China's environmental history, Mark Elvin draws upon the writings of Jesuit visitors to eighteenth century China, who described a landscape in which intensive farming had encroached upon all available space and growing population placed strain on resources. On the basis of this evidence, Elvin finds that "pressure on the environment" was much higher in early modern China than in Western Europe.29 During the nineteenth century, when a growing imbalance between population and resources reached a tipping point in many parts of China and the imperial state withdrew from its commitment to environmental management, ecological crisis was the result.

     During the early twentieth century, modern efforts to exploit this strained environment more efficiently in the name of national economic development and progress only heightened the potential for catastrophe. Environmental degradation reached unprecedented levels of intensity after 1949, as the PRC encouraged large-scale land clearance, launched irrigation and hydroelectric megaprojects, and pushed to industrialize China's economy at breakneck speed. China's post-1949 pattern of development intensified an array of environmental problems (deforestation, erosion, desertification, etc.) and created new ones in the form of air and water pollution. To a large extent, the environmental transformations witnessed in Mao's China were shaped by modernist ideas about science and technology's ability to manipulate the environment that circulated at the global scale.

     Since 1978, China's opening to the global economy and its market-based, export-oriented economic growth have only exacerbated its environmental ills. As China produces goods for the global economy it consumes huge amounts of natural resources, and all of the pollutants from this export production stay behind in China. To meet China's demand for raw materials, developed countries have taken to exporting garbage and scrap to China, including e-wastes like discarded computers and old cell phones. In the other direction, aerial pollutants from Chinese industry and dust storms attributed to desertification in west China reach neighboring Asian countries and even the west coast of the United States.30

     Finally, China's environment is tied to that of the globe by the major environmental issue of our age – climate change. Regardless of where carbon emissions originate, the whole world has to share the impact of melting glaciers and changing weather patterns. For this reason, as Orville Schell has perceptively pointed out, China shares an interest with others countries – the United States in particular – in confronting the threat of global climate change.31 Today, even more than in the past, China's environment is bound up with the wider world.

     Micah S. Muscolino is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Georgetown University. He can be contacted at



1 Perdue, Peter C. Exhausting the Earth: State and Peasant in Hunan, 1500-1850 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 1987); Maohong Bao, "Environmental History in China," Environment and History 10, no. 4 (2004); Mark Elvin, Nishioka Hiroaki, Tamura Keiko and Joan Kwek, eds. Japanese Studies on the History of Water Control in China: A Selected Bibliography (Canberra: Institute of Advanced Studies, ANU, 1994).

2 Ian Tyrell, "Peripheral Visions: Californian-Australian Environmental Contacts, c. 1850s-1910, Journal of World History 8, no. 2 (1997), 275-302 and Richard White, "The Nationalization of Nature," The Journal of American History 86, no. 3 (1999), accessible at <>

3 Lillian M. Li. Fighting Famine in North China: State, Market, and Environmental Decline, 1690s-1990s (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007); Robert B. Marks, Tigers, Rice, Silk, and Silt: Environment and Economy in Late Imperial South China (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).

4 Victor B. Lieberman, Strange Parallels: Southeast Asia in Global Context, ca. 1800-1830. Volume I: Integration on the Mainland (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003); Geoffrey Parker, "Crisis and Catastrophe: The General Crisis of the Seventeenth Century Reconsidered," American Historical Review 113, no. 4 (2008). 1053-1079."

5 Frederic E. Wakeman, "China and the Seventeenth-Century Crisis." Late Imperial China 7, no. 1 (1986), 1-26; William S. Atwell, "Some Observations on the 'Seventeenth-Century Crisis' in China and Japan," The Journal of Asian Studies, 45/2, 223-244.

6 Mark Elvin, The Retreat of the Elephants: An Environmental History of China (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004), 6.

7 Marks, Tigers, Rice, Silk, and Silt, 195-210.

8 Li, Fighting Famine in North China, 37.

9 Michael Marmé, "Locating Linkages or Painting Bull's-Eyes around Bullet Holes? An East Asian Perspective on the Seventeenth-Century Crisis," American Historical Review 113, no. 4 (2008), 1085-1086.

10 Pierre-Étienne Will and R. Bin Wong, Nourish the People: The State Civilian Granary System in China, 1650-1850 (Ann Arbor: Center for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan, 1991).

11 Kenneth Pomeranz, The Making of a Hinterland: State, Society, and the Economy in Inland North China, 1853-1937 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993).

12 Paul A. Cohen, Discovering History in China: American Historical Writing on the Recent Chinese Past (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004).

13 James McCann, Maize and Grace: Africa's Encounter with a New World Crop, 1500-2000 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005).

14 J. R. McNeill, and William H. McNeill, The Human Web: A Bird's-Eye View of World History (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2003), 206-211.

15 J. R. McNeill, "China's Environmental History in World Perspective," in Mark Elvin and Liu Ts'ui-jung eds., Sediments of Time: Environment and Society in Chinese History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 35.

16 Peter Perdue, China Marches West: The Qing Conquest of Central Eurasia (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005), 16-17.

17 See Anne R. Osborne, "Highlands and Lowlands: Economic and Ecological Interactions in the Lower Yangzi Region under the Qing," in Mark Elvin and Liu Ts'ui-jung eds., Sediments of Time: Environment and Society in Chinese History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 203-234; Eduard B. Vermeer, "Population and Ecology along the Frontier in Qing China," in Elvin and Liu, eds., Sediments of Time, 253-279.

18 Perdue, China Marches West, 46-47.

19 Ibid, 49

20 Mark Elvin, The Retreat of the Elephants: An Environmental History of China (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004), Chapter 8 passim.

21 Robert P. Weller, Discovering Nature: Globalization and Environmental Culture in China and Taiwan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).

22 David A. Pietz, Engineering the State: The Huai River and Reconstruction in Nationalist China, 1927-1937 (New York: Routledge, 2002); Elena E. Songster, "Cultivating the Nation in Fujian's Forests: Forest Policies and Afforestation Efforts in China, 1911-1937," Environmental History 8, no. 3 (2003). Online edition available at <>.

23 Weller, Discovering Nature, 50.

24 Paul R. Josephson, Resources Under Regimes: Technology, Environment, and the State (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004).

25 Micah Muscolino, Fishing Wars and Environmental Change in Late Imperial and Modern China (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, forthcoming, fall 2009).

26 Micah Muscolino, "The Yellow Croaker War: Fishery Disputes Between China and Japan, 1925-1935," Environmental History 13, no. 2 (2008). On-line edition available at <>.

27 Muscolino, Fishing Wars, forthcoming, fall 2009.

28 Judith Shapiro, Mao's War against Nature: Politics and the Environment in Revolutionary China (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001).

29 Mark Elvin, The Retreat of the Elephants, 460.

30 Jianguo Liu and Jared Diamond, "China's Environment in a Globalizing World," Nature 435 (2005), 1179-1186.

31 Orville Schell, "The U.S. and China: Common Ground on Climate." Yale Environment 360 (August 18, 2008), available on-line at <>



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