Daily Cutting and Denuded Hills

1737 CEChina

"In mountainous Yunnan there were (originally) endless bamboo forests covering the serried hills, while trees and grasses grew luxuriantly and ample firewood was there for the taking. However because the salt-works require wood, and mines and mints require charcoal, there has been daily cutting, resulting in denuded hills almost as far as the eye can see. Firewood and charcoal have gradually become dear and hard to come by; even the roots of grass and bark of trees are almost rarities . . ." - Chen Hongmu, Yunnan, China

Economic development during the Qing dynasty led to environmental disaster and excessive cultivation of land, overfishing, and over-cutting.

Helen Dunstan. Official Thinking on Environmental Issues and the State’s Environmental Roles in Eighteenth-Century China. Sediments of Time: Environment and Society in Chinese History, 1998. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Image: Myeonggyeong-dae (Myeonggyeong Terrace) 1700-1733