Seeing the Forest Like a State: Forest Management, Wildlife Conservation, and Center-Periphery Relations in Northeast China, 1949 to 1965


Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies Predissertation-Summer Travel Grants




My dissertation explores wildlife protection and forestry in Heilongjiang from 1949 to 1965. An important question animating this research is how historians should interpret the destructive environmental consequences of policies in the Mao era (1949 – 1976). The environmental degradation during the early PRC has overshadowed state attempts to promote wildlife protection in the early 1960s, which failed to protect biodiversity. My research traces the central state promulgation, local government implementation, and ultimate failure of state conservation policies in Heilongjiang. I will investigate how the center-periphery tensions in enforcing state policy and the role of local indigenous people altered state-initiated conservation policy, leading to the severe loss of biodiversity.