An early history of rice

When did rice change the planet? Rice is the most important food crop on earth, feeding more than half of all humans. Most is produced in Asia in the flooded paddy systems that form the core of the most intensively-managed of all ancient agricultural anthromes, the rice villages, where its high productivity in response to sophisticated irrigation schemes and traditional […]

China’s villages are changing the world

If you still think of rural China as remote, traditional, and unchanged for millennia, think again. China’s ancient village landscapes are among the most dynamic and densely populated on Earth, with a global extent more than twice that all of Earth’s cities combined (2.5 million km2 vs. ~1 million km2). It should therefore come as no surprise that long-term changes […]

China is burning (carbon) for you

Do not ask for whom China’s carbon burns, it burns for you! A new article in press at Energy Policy by Lin and Sun assesses the extent of carbon emitted to the atmosphere in China because of exports produced for consumption by other nations. While the exact contributions by exports are complex, and depend on economic sectors, as much as […]

A New Wetlands Map for China

by Diann Prosser The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) has recently released the first comprehensive digital map of wetlands across China, based on remote sensing imagery. The effort was led by PengGong, of CAS Institute of Remote Sensing Applications in Beijing and University of California, Berkeley. Wetland map classification was based on Landsat (ETM+) imagery (1999 to 2002) obtained from […]

Forest change in China

An interesting new historical study of forest cover change in China from 1700 to present reveals that up to the 1960s, deforestation prevailed, while since the 1960s, forests have been recovering. Read the paper by Fanneng He et al., in the (Chinese) Journal of Geographical Sciences, here (may require permission): Reference: He, F., Q. Ge, J. Dai, and Y. […]

China’s rural revolution

China’s explosive economic growth has awed the world, and is now felt in every corner of the Earth. As a result, earth systems are being changed at unprecedented rates, while bringing more people into a modern lifestyle than ever before. While we normally perceive these changes in terms of rapid urbanization and industrialization, China’s ancient rural landscapes are also being […]

Dynamics of village change in China’s Yangtze Delta (new publication)

 China’s Yangtze Delta (also known as the Tai Lake Region) is home to some of the world’s most ancient anthropogenic landscapes. Rice was likely domesticated here 8,500 years ago, and the region’s nickname “land of fish and rice” sums up it’s long history of highly productive agriculture. Indeed, the region has long been a poster child for sustainable traditional agriculture […]