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Relocation of Civilization Centers in Ancient China: Environmental Factors

Duan Chang-Qun, Gan Xue-Chun, Jeanny Wang and Paul K. Chien
Ambio
Vol. 27, No. 7 (Nov., 1998), pp. 572-575
Published by: Springer on behalf of Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4314793
Page Count: 4
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Relocation of Civilization Centers in Ancient China: Environmental Factors
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Abstract

China is a country with a long history of civilization. Its civilization centers re-located from the plains of the lower and middle reaches of the Yellow River to the basin of the lower watershed of the Yangtze River. This paper analyzes the ecological environmental background of the changes of the civilization centers established in the main dynasties and regimes in ancient China, in which the dynamics of population, farmland, forest, and natural disasters for each period are emphasized. The relationship between environmental degradation, wars, and social development cycles, are also discussed. The results show that anthropogenic environmental impact was one of the decisive contributing factors leading to the relocation of the centers of civilization in ancient China. It is suggested that the rise and fall of ancient civilizations in China and other countries provide modern societies with important lessons for environmental protection.

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