This collection of essays was the first relatively comprehensive survey of the environmental history of China. Written by some of the world's leading Western and Chinese experts, Sediments of Time crystallises a new and distinct field of scholarship that studies what happens when human social systems interact with the rest of the natural world. This book shows how deforestation, land-reclamation, settlement, and water-control, when mixed with an ever-changing climate, shape a distinct and often precarious environment. Pioneering essays explore new methodologies of historical environmental research, comparative perspectives setting China in the context of the West and Japan, and the impact of the early modern ecological transformation on the spread of diseases such as cholera and tuberculosis. This is an indispensable book for anyone who wants to understand either the foundations of modern China, or the deeper origins of many of China's most daunting contemporary challenges.
Preface; Introduction Mark Elvin; The context; China's environmental history in world persepective John McNeill; Interpreting the physical environment; Man's impact on the vegetation and landscape in the Inner Himalaya and Tibet Wolfgang Holzner and Monika Kriechbaum; The villagers' view of environmental history in Yunnan province Nick Menzies; Human Seettlement; Environment versus water control Shiba Yshinobu; Han immigration and the settlement of Taiwan Liu Ts'ui-Jung; The Frontiers: Highlands and lowlands Anne Osborne; Population and ecology along the frontier in Qing China Eduard Vermeer; Water; Clear waters versus muddy waters Pierre-Etienne Will; Action at a distance Mark Elvin and Su Ninghu; Weather and Climate; 'It never used to snow' Robert Marks; Changes in climate, land, and human efforts Li Bozhong; Diseases; Cholera in China, 1820-1930 Kerrie MacPherson; Environment and tuberculosis in modern China Zhang Yixia and Mark Elvin; Representations of the environment - the offical mind; From the Yellow River to the Huai Christian Lamouroux; Official thinking on environmental issues and the state's environmental roles in eighteenth-century China Helen Dunstan; Representations of the environment - literary and popular sensibility; Ecologism versus moralism Paolo Santangelo; Water, love, and labour Antonia Finnane; The environment and early modern economic growth in Taiwan and Japan; Non-reclamation deforestation in Taiwan, circa 1600-1976 Ch'en Kuo-tung; Hydro-electricity and industrialization Tung An-ch'i; Environmental problems and perceptions in early industrial Japan Tessa Morris-Suzuki; Index.