Chairman Mao, the Great Leap Forward and the Deforestation Ecological Disaster in the South China Karst

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006
Peter Huntoon
4:00 pm

Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum 600 South Gregory Street Urbana

Event Description

The south China karst belt has been profoundly and detrimentally impacted by massive post-1958 deforestation, especially by cutting associated with Mao's 5-year Great Leap Forward Campaign. The annual food-drought cycle has been sufficiently intensified by the loss of the green reservoir of the forests that desertification has occurred over large areas. A primary impact of deforestation has been lost water retention in the uplands. The immediate impact of the deforestation was massive starvation, the residual is continued impoverishment of some 100 million people. Reforestation efforts are underway, but they are gradually losing to human encroachments. Two phenomena need to be addressed to accomplish recovery: (1) the heavy dependence of the local population on wood for fuel, and (2) the population explosion.
WILL-AM580 FOCUS interview with Peter Huntoon

Event Video
Peter Huntoon

Professor, Dept of Geology and Geophysics, University of Wyoming, retired