Forest and Land Management in Imperial China
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. This is an inter-disciplinary work combining historical, sociological and ecological methods. It examines issues of ecological sustainability over several centuries and makes critical use of Chinese documentary sources.