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Studies on Water and Soil Conservation in Lvliang Mountain Area during the Period of Collectivization

Author: DiJun
Tutor: HaoPing
School: Shanxi University
Course: Historical Geography
Keywords: Sanchuanhe Basin hilly and gully areas in the Loess Plateau collectivization water and soil conservation
CLC: S157
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2011
Downloads: 7
Quote: 0
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Abstract


As the biggest deposit area of loess in the world, environmental changes in the Loess Plateau are always receiving much attention from the whole world. The environmental changes there have caused a series of environmental problems, the most prominent of which lies upon water and soil erosion. While the erosion is worsening the environment, the lower course of the Yellow River is also affected. Sanchuanhe Basin, situated in the Lvliang mountain area in Western Shanxi Province, makes one of the most serious areas that are being overwhelmed by water and soil erosion; therefore, it will surely of much positive significance for bettering and protecting the living environment of the basin to do studies on its causes and make a summary of all historical experience and lessons in alleviating or aggravating water and soil erosion in this area.From the early 1950s until the late 1970s, the Chinese government did a lot continuously with conservation of water and soil. In the highly-centralized era, collectivization put implementation of conservation of water and soil into a special background, during which its own characteristics were highlighted. The case of Sanchuanhe Basin, Shanxi Province was selected for empirical research, in which work of conservation of water and soil in the 3 decades was sorted out and revitalized to focus on impacts of collectivization on water and soil conservation, on the basis of that, to render an objective understanding and evaluation to the era of collectivization from the microcosmic point of view of water and soil conservation. In the study, the paper, with the method of historical materialism and a combination of documentation and investigation, went down to the fields and referred to a larger number of local archives. Moreover, it summed up a series of achievements of water and soil conservation in the basin, and also obtained access to a mass of first hand information by talking with local people. In addition, some methods and results in terms of sociology, statistics as well as NEC engineering were quoted with the hope of an objective analysis and interpretation on the above issues.The paper falls into six chapters. Chapter One defines study objects, analyzes the present status for the sake of explicitness of research content and its significance, followed by exploration on points of thinking and penetration of the solutions on the basis of material characteristics. Two aspects in Chapter Two respectively outline natural and human environments in Sanchuanhe Basin that caused serious water and soil erosion, as well as civil experience from history in this region that helped conservation of water and soil; and the chapter also point out that the experience was for a long time being in disorder, which laid down a good foundation for the large-scale conservation of water and soil in the period of collectivization. Chapter Three and Four attach key points of the paper with two phases of survival practice in the period of collectivization, and further discuss implementation throughout of conservation of water and soil based on analysis of national macroscopic political background. Chapter Five selects building terraced fields as the research object, takes the region of Liulin County as an example to elaborate how people who had repelled the terraced fields changed their mind finally to hug the terraced fields; moreover, the chapter chooses two models, Hechangsanlang Village and Hanjiayu Village in Longhuayuan, for case analysis and indicates the starting point of renewing terraced fields construction stems from requesting grain production increase and that terraced fields are of great significance for conservation of water and soil in loess hilly and gully areas regarding the time of collectivization. Chapter Six makes the conclusion part.The following conclusions have been reached from the studying above.Firstly, water and soil conservation is dually connected with grain production. On one hand, concrete practice in the forms of terraced fields and silt storage dams for water and soil conservation and grain production has been mutually coordinated and improved. In the time of collectivization, grain supply was the biggest issue that restricted economic development in China; however, the positive role of terraced fields and silt storage dams in grain production increase led to their large-scale construction and promotion in Sanchuanhe Basin, which, as a matter of fact, enhanced the capability of grain production. On the other hand, since all the work for water and soil conservation must be undertaken with the focus of grain production increase, terraced fields and silt storage dams were thereafter attached weight to, while directly restricted and ignored development of forestry and animal husbandry, which should have helped to maintain water and soil and improved environment in a large scale. As a consequence, all work turned out one-sided.Secondly, collectivization is of complex impacts on water and soil conservation in loess hilly and gully areas, mainly in changes of organization in terms of rural labor force. For one thing, the equalitarianism and the egalitarian practice of everyone taking food from the same big pot in distribution, to a certain extent, undermined workers’enthusiasm and passion devoted in projects for water and soil conservation, which resulted in a negative effect. For another, collectivization strengthened management and supervision to workers from grassroots political power. And workers "got organized" to greatly enhance collective efforts and to overcome the disadvantage of "go it alone", so that projects in need of much more water for water and soil conservation could be put into practice.There are many factors attributing to the fact that water and soil conservation in loess hilly and gully areas did not see its great progress. First of all, due to immaturity in technology, the work was for a long time being in a state of "trial and error", without any ready-made experience to learn from, which brought out some failures. In addition, overwhelming "leftism" hindered development of rural productivity, having left a lot of water and soil conservation only a pursuit of speeds and quantities without much consideration of benefits and qualities.

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CLC: > Agricultural Sciences > Agriculture as the foundation of science > Soil > Soil and Water Conservation
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