Non-Fiction Books:

China's Past, China's Future


Paperback / softback

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China's Past, China's Future by Vaclav Smil
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China has a population of 1.3 billion people which puts strain on her natural resources. This volume, by one of the leading scholars on the earth's biosphere, is the result of a lifetime of study on China, and provides the fullest account yet of the environmental challenges that China faces. The author examines China's energy resources, their uses, impacts and prospects, from the 1970s oil-crisis to the present day, before analysing the key question of how China can best produce enough food to feed its enormous population. In answering this question the entire food chain - the environmental setting, post harvest losses, food processing, access to food and actual nutritional requirements - is examined, as well as the most effective methods of agricultural management. The final chapters focus upon the dramatic cost to the country's environment caused by China's rapid industrialization. Widespread environmental problems discussed include: Water and air pollution Water shortage Soil erosion Deforestation Desertification Loss of biodiversity In conclusion, Smil argues that the decline of the Chinese ecosystem and environmental pollution has cost China about ten per cent of her annual GDP. This book provides the best available synthesis on the environmental consequences of China's economic reform program and will prove essential reading to scholars with an interest in China and the environment.

Author Biography

Vaclav Smil is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Geography, University of Manitoba, Canada. He is widely recognized as one of the world's leading authorities on the biosphere and China's environment. He is the author of many books including The Earth's Biosphere, Enriching the Earth, Feeding the World and China's Environment.
Release date NZ
November 6th, 2003
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
5 Tables, black and white
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