1st Edition

Environmental History in the Pacific World

Edited By J.R. McNeill Copyright 2001

    This volume brings together a set of key articles from the last 30 years pertaining to the environmental history of the Pacific basin. It aims to treat the islands and waters of the Pacific as well as the lands around the Rim, from New Zealand to Japan, to California, to Chile, and is the first work of environmental history to take this inclusive view of the Pacific basin. The focus is mainly on recent centuries but, as environmental history requires, at times the work also takes the very long view of millennia. Several of the articles seek to bring a broad Pacific perspective to bear on their subjects, while others use Pacific-basin examples to try to establish broader theoretical points of interest to all who are drawn to the study of the interactions between nature and culture. The book includes a bibliography of Pacific-basin environmental history and an introduction that aims to sketch the contours and possible future directions of the field.

    Contents: General editor’s preface; Introduction; Commercialization without capitalism: processes of environmental change in South China, 1550-1850, Robert Marks; Three thousand years of unsustainable growth: China's environment from archaic times to the present, Mark Elvin; Of rats and men: a synoptic environmental history of the island Pacific, J. R. McNeill; Coming to terms with nature: state and environment in maritime southeast Asia, Greg Bankoff; Peripheral visions: Californian-Australian environmental contacts, c.1850s-1910, Ian Tyrrell; Biotic change in 19th-century New Zealand, Alfred W. Crosby; Population of the French overseas territories in the Pacific: past, present, and projected, J.-Louis Rallu; Hydraulic society in California: an ecological interpretation, Donald Worster; Humans and forests in pre-colonial southeast Asia, Anthony Reid; Discrepancies between environmental attitude and behaviour: examples from Europe and China, Yi-Fu Tuan; Toward an interactive theory of nature and culture: ecology, production, and cognition in the California fishing industry, Arthur E. McEvoy; Putting a ceiling on sealing: conservation and co-operation in the international arena, 1909-1911, Kurk Dorsey; A sacred mountain of gold: the creation of a mining resource frontier in Papua New Guinea, David Hyndman; Ecology and the poor: a neglected dimension of Latin American history, Joan Martinez-Alier; Patterns of landscape modification in relation to agricultural practice in Central Chile, Eduardo R. Fuentes and Ernst R. Hajek; Resource use and environmental management in Japan, 1890-1990, A. Radha Krishnan and Malcolm Tull; The forests of Tokugawa Japan: a catastrophe that was avoided, Conrad Totman; Index.


    J. R. McNeill, Georgetown University, USA

    '... an impressive array of articles... the selected group of articles would make an excellent reading list for an undergraduate class... a significant and welcome contribution to the emergent field of Pacific environmental history.' Pacific Affairs