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Agricultural reclamation policy and environmental changes in the northwest China during the Qing dynasty

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image of Frontiers of History in China

Northwest China, including the provinces of Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia, and a small part of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region, was not only one of the earliest developed areas in history, but also one of the most ecologically fragile belts. The traditionally sustainable land reclamation and cultivation policies for the development of an agricultural economy adopted and implemented in administrations during different periods of the Qing dynasty, greatly raised farming and stock production. However, this led to imbalances in the originally fragile ecological environment. The negative effects such as rapidly expanding desertification, worsening water and soil erosions, increased cost of production, enlarged investment, vicious cycles and failing economy can serve as a lesson for contemporary development.


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