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7 - Ecological Change and Resource Constraints

from Part II - 1000 to 1800

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 February 2022

Debin Ma
Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo
Richard von Glahn
University of California, Los Angeles
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Intricate relations between people, animals, and plants were the basis of the entire imperial Chinese order no matter what dynasty was ostensibly in charge. Such relations were environmental in the sense that they formed interdependencies between species under diverse ecological conditions of climate and topography. The most significant environmental historical result of these relations for the eight centuries under study here was agriculture, the main source of China’s human-induced (or “anthropogenic”) ecological change. An extended, instructive example of the intricacies of farming’s requisite resource management comes from the Ming (1368–1644) town of Pingwang in the Yangzi delta, likely the most developed area of contemporary imperial agrarian practice.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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