Historical Geography Research ›› 2022, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (2): 24-39.

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Study on Water Environment Changes of Fuzhou’s West Lake and Its Governance During the Ming and Qing Dynasties

Gong Junwen1,2, Chen Yexin1,2   

  1. 1. School of History and Culture of Science, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China
    2. School of Humanities, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China
  • Received:2021-04-29 Online:2022-05-20 Published:2022-08-31


During Ming and Qing dynasties, the water environment of Fuzhou’s West Lake gradually deteriorated. In Ming Dynasty, the water source of West Lake was abundant and the water quality was good. Since Wanli’s reign, affected by social factors such as land reclamation, the West Lake shrunk in size and the water quality was affected. In the middle to late Qing Dynasty, waterways in Fuzhou were shallow, and the river tide eventually disappeared. The changes in water environment of the West Lake during the Ming and Qing dynasties were not only affected by regional climate change in humidity, forest soil and water conservation, and lake sedimentation, but also closely related to water and land disputes. Due to the dire human-land bearing ratio, the unclear ownership of water resources, and the vague taxation regulations on newly reclaimed lake fields, excessive lake reclamation became inevitable. The local government made considerable efforts, such as repairing floodgates and protecting lake embankment, turning the reclaimed land back to water surface, cleaning up feces and silt, etc., which achieved phased effects. However, affected by the socio-economic factors such as population pressure, land resource limits and ecological patterns, the West Lake still deteriorated due to the accumulated problems over the centuries.

Key words: environmental change, water resources, Fuzhou West Lake, Ming and Qing dynasties

CLC Number: 

  • K248