Fir and Empire: The Transformation of Forests in Early Modern China
By Ian Miller
University of Washington Press, 2020
Fir and Empire traces changes in China’s woodland environment in the early modern period, exploring how subtle shifts in policy enabled transformations in both forest ecology and forest oversight. Woodlands evolved from open-access, natural-growth environments to privately owned, largely anthropogenic ones. Developments as seemingly distinct as the Zheng He fleets, Beijing palaces, Single Whip Reforms, and the emergence of the Hakka diaspora all had roots in the transformation of South China’s forests.