Human Ecology

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 327–353 | Cite as

Political ecology and environmental management in the Loess Plateau, China

  • Linda Hershkovitz


This paper explores the changing political ecology of soil and water management—the articulation of physical and political-economic processes—in the Loess Plateau of north-central China. Market-oriented reforms and the shift from collective to household farming have created a diverse array of tenure, management, and financing arrangements. In the process relationships between farm households, the collective, and the state have been altered, with profound implications for land use and sustainability. The paper reviews the political ecology approach and its relevance to environmental management in China. An outline of the physical and economic context of soil erosion in the Loess Plateau is followed by examination of the impact of reform on rural environmental management. Local innovations in the organization of environmental management are highlighted. The conclusion comments on the utility of the regional political ecology approach and suggests some critical issues for further research.

Key words

China rural environment political ecology Loess Plateau 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linda Hershkovitz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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