In the Qing period (1644–1912), China's population tripled, and the flurry of new development generated unprecedented demand for timber. Standard environmental histories have often depicted this as an era of reckless deforestation, akin to the resource misuse that devastated European forests at the same time. This comprehensive new study shows that the reality was more complex: as old-growth forests were cut down, new economic arrangements emerged to develop renewable timber resources. Historian Meng Zhang traces the trade routes that connected population centers of the Lower Yangzi Delta to timber supplies on China's southwestern frontier. She documents innovative property rights systems and economic incentives that convinced landowners to invest years in growing trees. Delving into rare archives to reconstruct business histories, she considers both the formal legal mechanisms and the informal interactions that helped balance economic profit with environmental management. Of driving concern were questions of sustainability: How to maintain a reliable source of timber across decades and centuries? And how to sustain a business network across a thousand miles? This carefully constructed study makes a major contribution to Chinese economic and environmental history and to world-historical discourses on resource management, early modern commercialization, and sustainable development.
The economic prosperity of two nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century New England towns rested on factories that manufactured piano keys, billiard balls, combs, and other items made of ivory imported from East Africa. Yet while towns like Ivoryton and Deep River, Connecticut, thrived, the African ivory trade left in its wake massive human exploitation and ecological devastation. At the same time, dynamic East African engagement with capitalism and imperialism took place within these trade histories. Drawing from extensive archival and field research in New England, Great Britain, and Tanzania, Alexandra Kelly investigates the complex global legacies of the historical ivory trade. She not only explains the complexities of this trade but also analyzes Anglo-American narratives about Africa, questioning why elephants and ivory feature so centrally in those representations. From elephant conservation efforts to the cultural heritage industries in New England and East Africa, her study reveals the ongoing global repercussions of the ivory craze and will be of interest to anthropologists, archaeologists, historians, and conservationists.
This book addresses global and subnational issues concerning the world's forests, societies, and environment from an independent and non-governmental point of view. Cooperation on a global scale is not only commendable, it is essential if solutions to the problems facing the world's forests are to be found. To achieve this, modern science needs to draw a clearer picture of relationships between forests, human activity, and the environment, and of the consequences of environmental change for the societies' development and growth. There are several - partly intermingled - evolutionary forest transitions underway: the slow transition from forest area decrease to an increase in the North while deforestation and degradation continues in the South. Although not all deforestation is considered negative, serious social, economic, and environmental costs may be associated with excessive deforestation. Deforestation control is just the first step on the stony path towards sustainable forest management. The forest management transition refers to the shift in the utilization towards managed semi-natural, secondary forests and plantation forests. There are some signs in the North of the forest paradigm shift from sustainable yield to forest ecosystem concepts. How deforestation can be tackled and how these concurrent transitions are effected will have profound implications for the future. These processes involve several challenges with South-North dimensions. A search for an optimum mix of public policies and markets is a global priority both as a forest policy issue and as an inter-sectoral item on the political agenda. Deforestation and transition is discussed here by a team of 14 scientists from both the North and the South. This book offers knowledge, facts, and information about world forests, society, and environment to help us towards equity in our use of the global forest – to create a clearer vision of unasylva.
Although China is generally considered to have suffered continuous deforestation over most of its history, forests were protected or even planted and maintained for centuries in some places. This study identifies six such cases. It uses historical evidence to show that individuals and communities act to manage resources sustainably for a number of reasons including economic benefit, religious or symbolic purposes, and that sustainability of the management system depends on the form of control exerted over the resource.
A free ebook version of this title is available through Luminos, University of California Press’s Open Access publishing program. Visit www.luminosoa.org to learn more. Scholarly discussions on economic development in history, specifically those linked to industrialization or modern economic growth, have paid great attention to the formation and development of the market economy as a set of institutions able to augment people’s welfare. The role of specific nonmarket practices for promoting the economic development and welfare has been a distinct concern, typically involving discussion of the state’s economic policies. How have societies tackled those issues that the market did not? To what extent did those solutions reflect the structure of an economy? Public Goods Provision in the Early Modern Economy explores these questions by investigating efforts made for the provision of "public goods" in early modern economies from the perspective of Japanese socioeconomic history during Tokugawa era (1603–1868), and by comparing those cases with others from Europe and China’s economic history. The contributors focus on three areas of inquiry—early modern era welfare policies for the poor, infrastructure, and forest management—to provide both a unique perspective on Japanese public finance at local levels and a vantage point outside of Europe to encourage a more global view of early modern political economies that shaped subsequent modern transformations.
This book explores new directions in the study of China’s borderlands. In addition to assessing the influential perspectives of other historians, it engages innovative approaches in the author’s own research. These studies probe regional accommodations, the intersections of borderland management, martial fortification, and imperial culture, as well as the role of governmental discourse in defining and preserving restive boundary regions. As the issue of China’s management of its borderlands grows more pressing, the work presents key information and insights into how that nation’s contested fringes have been governed in the past.
The disappearance of China’s naturally occurring forests is one of the most significant environmental shifts in the country’s history, one often blamed on imperial demand for lumber. China’s early modern forest history is typically viewed as a centuries-long process of environmental decline, culminating in a nineteenth-century social and ecological crisis. Pushing back against this narrative of deforestation, Ian Miller charts the rise of timber plantations between about 1000 and 1700, when natural forests were replaced with anthropogenic ones. Miller demonstrates that this form of forest management generally rested on private ownership under relatively distant state oversight and taxation. He further draws on in-depth case studies of shipbuilding and imperial logging to argue that this novel landscape was not created through simple extractive pressures, but by attempts to incorporate institutional and ecological complexity into a unified imperial state. Miller uses the emergence of anthropogenic forests in south China to rethink both temporal and spatial frameworks for Chinese history and the nature of Chinese empire. Because dominant European forestry models do not neatly overlap with the non-Western world, China’s history is often left out of global conversations about them; Miller’s work rectifies this omission and suggests that in some ways, China’s forest system may have worked better than the more familiar European institutions.
The many instances of regional insurgency and unrest that erupted on China’s borderlands at the turn of the nineteenth century are often regarded by scholars as evidence of government disability and the incipient decline of the imperial Qing dynasty. This book, based on extensive original research, argues that, on the contrary, the response of the imperial government went well beyond pacification and reconstruction, and demonstrates that the imperial political culture was dynamic, innovative and capable of confronting contemporary challenges. The author highlights in particular the Jiaqing Reforms of 1799, which enabled national reformist ideology, activist-oriented administrative education, the development of specialised frontier officials, comprehensive borderland rehabilitation, and the sharing of borderland administration best practice between different regions. Overall, the book shows that the Qing regime had sustained vigour, albeit in difficult and changing circumstances.
This report explores some of the opportunities for, and challenges associated with, exporting wood products to China. Five topics are examined: an overview of trends in forestry and forest products in China, export opportunities and challenges for U.S. primary wood producers (Study 1), export opportunities and challenges for U.S. secondary wood producers (Study 2), relevant barriers to trade, and a compilation of state export resources. This work is based on observations from three trade missions to China (March 2004, March 2005, and July 2006), interviews with persons knowledgeable with hardwood markets in China, and two surveys of Chinese forest products business groups.
Community-based forest management (CBFM) is a model of forest management in which a community takes part in decision making and implementation, and monitoring of activities affecting the natural resources around them. CBFM provides a framework for a community members to secure access to the products and services that flow from the landscape in which they live and has become an essential component of any comprehensive approach to forest management. In this volume, Nicholas K. Menzies looks at communities in China, Zanzibar, Brazil, and India where, despite differences in landscape, climate, politics, and culture, common challenges and themes arise in making a transition from forest management by government agencies to CBFM. The stories of these four distinct places highlight the difficulties communities face when trying to manage their forests and negotiate partnerships with others interested in forest management, such as the commercial forest sector or conservation and environmental organizations. These issues are then considered against a growing body of research concerning what constitutes successful CBFM. Drawing on published and unpublished case studies, project reports, and his own rich experience, Menzies analyzes how CBFM fits into the broader picture of the management of natural resources, highlighting the conditions that bring about effective practices and the most just and equitable stewardship of resources. A critical companion for students, researchers, and practitioners, Our Forest, Your Ecosystem, Their Timber provides a singular resource on the emergence and evolution of CBFM.