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Challenging the conventional wisdom conveyed by Western environmental historians about China, this book examines the correlations between economic and environmental changes in the southern Chinese provinces of Guangdong and Guangxi from 1400 to 1850, but also provides substantial background from 2CE on. Robert Marks discusses the impact of population growth on land-use patterns, the agro-ecology of the region, and deforestation; the commercialization of agriculture and its implications for ecological change; the impact of climatic change on agriculture; and the ways in which the human population responded to environmental challenges. This book is a significant contribution to both Chinese and environmental history. It is groundbreaking in its methods and in its findings.