Hardback
June 30, 2020
9780295747330
English
296
9 b&w illus., 4 maps, 5 tables
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
1.15 Pounds (US)
$40.00 USD, £32.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Fir and Empire

The Transformation of Forests in Early Modern China

By Ian M. Miller
Foreword by Paul S. Sutter, Series edited by Paul S. Sutter
The disappearance of China's naturally occurring forests is one of the most significant environmental shifts in the country's history, one often blamed on imperial demand for lumber. China's early modern forest history is typically viewed as a centuries-long process of environmental decline, culminating in a nineteenth-century social and ecological crisis. Pushing back against this narrative of deforestation, Ian Miller charts the rise of timber plantations between about 1000 and 1700, when natural forests were replaced with anthropogenic ones. Miller demonstrates that this form of forest management generally rested on private ownership under relatively distant state oversight and taxation. He further draws on in-depth case studies of shipbuilding and imperial logging to argue that this novel landscape was not created through simple extractive pressures, but by attempts to incorporate institutional and ecological complexity into a unified imperial state.

Miller uses the emergence of anthropogenic forests in south China to rethink both temporal and spatial frameworks for Chinese history and the nature of Chinese empire. Because dominant European forestry models do not neatly overlap with the non-Western world, China's history is often left out of global conversations about them; Miller's work rectifies this omission and suggests that in some ways, China's forest system may have worked better than the more familiar European institutions.

About the Authors

Ian M. Miller is assistant professor of history at St. John's University.

Reviews

"Miller's monograph, supported by solid evidence and compelling arguments, enables the reader to explore this long arc of Chinese civilization from the unique perspective of environmental history."—Choice

"[O]ffers a transformation of our understanding of China's early modern environmental history...a sweeping book...not only tells a story that will have wide impacts for the field, but manages to create an intimate look at what China's forest management system looked like to those trying to operate and profit from it."—New Books in East Asian Studies (NBN)

"The concisely written chapters are packed with period surveys and local vignettes, which give this relatively short book considerable depth."—Agricultural History

Endorsements

"Excellent . . . Miller problematizes the notion of Chinese premodern deforestation and, more broadly and significantly, the idea that premodern China was somehow deficient in its environmental governance in comparison to its European contemporaries."—David A. Bello, author of Across Forest, Steppe and Mountain: Environment, Identity and Empire in Qing China's Borderlands

"This pathbreaking addition to the sparse English-language literature on China's forest history far surpasses all existing works in terms of scope and scholarly rigor. Miller's work and the arguments it advances could genuinely transform the field of Chinese environmental history."—Micah S. Muscolino, University of California, San Diego

9780295747330 : fir-and-empire-miller-sutter-sutter
Hardback
296 Pages
$40.00 USD

Other Titles by Paul S. Sutter

Footprints of War

David Andrew Biggs, foreword by Paul S. Sutter, series edited by Paul S. Sutter
Aug 2021 - University of Washington Press
$34.95 USD - Hardback
$30.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Wetlands in a Dry Land

Emily O'Gorman, series edited byPaul S. Sutter
Jul 2021 - University of Washington Press
$99.00 USD - Hardback
$30.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Bringing Whales Ashore

Jakobina K. Arch, foreword by Paul S. Sutter, series edited byPaul S. Sutter
Aug 2020 - University of Washington Press
$40.00 USD - Hardback
$30.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Other Titles by Paul S. Sutter

Footprints of War

David Andrew Biggs, foreword by Paul S. Sutter, series edited by Paul S. Sutter
Aug 2021 - University of Washington Press
$34.95 USD - Hardback
$30.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Wetlands in a Dry Land

Emily O'Gorman, series edited byPaul S. Sutter
Jul 2021 - University of Washington Press
$99.00 USD - Hardback
$30.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Bringing Whales Ashore

Jakobina K. Arch, foreword by Paul S. Sutter, series edited byPaul S. Sutter
Aug 2020 - University of Washington Press
$40.00 USD - Hardback
$30.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Other Titles from Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books

Fire, second edition

Stephen J. Pyne
Aug 2019 - University of Washington Press
$24.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$99.00 USD - Hardback

Native Seattle, second edition

Coll Thrush, foreword by William Cronon
Mar 2017 - University of Washington Press
$99.00 USD - Hardback
$24.95 USD - Paperback / softback

A Storied Wilderness

James W. Feldman, foreword by William Cronon
Mar 2016 - University of Washington Press
$25.00 USD - Paperback / softback
$99.00 USD - Hardback

Other Titles in HISTORY / Asia / China

Garden of Eloquence / Shuoyuan

Liu Xiang, translated by Eric Henry
Jan 2022 - University of Washington Press
$125.00 USD - Hardback

Temples in the Cliffside

Sonya S. Lee
Dec 2021 - University of Washington Press
$65.00 USD - Hardback

Eastward of Good Hope

Dane A. Morrison
Nov 2021 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$54.95 USD - Hardback
$54.95 USD - Electronic book text