Historical Geography Research ›› 2020, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (4): 68-82.

Previous Articles     Next Articles

Reclamation and Management of the East Taihu Lake in Modern Times Centering on Wujiang Region,1890-1937

Fang Zhilong   

  1. Center for Historical Geography Studies, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
  • Received:2020-06-15 Online:2020-11-20 Published:2021-01-19


The East Taihu Lake is the main drainage region of the Taihu Lake and an environment sensitive region. After 1890s, immigrants from Henan Province moved into Wujiang County, and they started reclamation in the East Taihu Lake area. From then to the breaking of the Anti-Japanese War, related management policy went through three stages, namely, immigrant recruitment and lift of the ban in the middle and late period of the Guangxu Reign, prohibition of new private ownership and reclamation in 1914, and limited reclamation in 1925. The core concerns of these changing policies seemed to be following a progressive process from focusing on financial needs to water conservancy, and then to a well-balanced development. However, after 1914, due to the financial needs and the fact that the lake conservancy fund had to rely on the sale of marsh land ownership, the authorities not only failed to restrict and guide reclamation activities, but also stimulated its disorderly development by setting up the bureau selling marsh lands ownership with a reduced price, which increasingly deteriorated the water conservancy situations. After the large-scale illegal reclamation in 1935, the authorities had to destroy the dikes of the marsh lands reclaimed privately in order to avoid the extreme consequences and make a rehabilitation plan. All in all, in the process of modern transformation, although technologies and concepts of governance were advanced, they failed to play an effective role in environment governance. The financial capacity was a critical factor affecting the implementation of such policies.

Key words: modern time, East Taihu Lake, reclamation, management

CLC Number: 

  • K928