Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Across Forest, Steppe, and Mountain
Environment, Identity, and Empire in Qing China's Borderlands


Part of Studies in Environment and History

  • Date Published: February 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107068841

£ 70.99

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • In this book, David Bello offers a new and radical interpretation of how China's last dynasty, the Qing (1644–1911), relied on the interrelationship between ecology and ethnicity to incorporate the country's far-flung borderlands into the dynasty's expanding empire. The dynasty tried to manage the sustainable survival and compatibility of discrete borderland ethnic regimes in Manchuria, Inner Mongolia, and Yunnan within a corporatist 'Han Chinese' imperial political order. This unprecedented imperial unification resulted in the great human and ecological diversity that exists today. Using natural science literature in conjunction with under-utilized and new sources in the Manchu language, Bello demonstrates how Qing expansion and consolidation of empire was dependent on a precise and intense manipulation of regional environmental relationships.

    • Combines under-utilized and new sources in the Manchu language with natural science literature
    • Complements a general professional and publishing trend in environmental history relating both to China and to global history of the early modern period
    • Offers a new, radical interpretation of how China's last dynasty relied on the interrelationship between ecology and ethnicity to incorporate China's borderlands into its expanding empire
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'David A. Bello's book is important, innovative, well written, exceptionally researched, and deserving of an audience that extends beyond scholars of late imperial (or early modern) China to those interested in environmental history, ethnicity, empires, and the dynamics of the early modern world … this book is fabulous, engaging, intriguing, and awe-inspiring.' Robert A. Marks, Whittier College, California

    'This is a multifaceted work of original and significant scholarship, complementing a general professional and publishing trend in environmental history relating both to China and to global history of the early modern period.' Pamela Crossley, Dartmouth College

    'David A. Bello's comparative study makes important new contributions to the field through its nuanced analysis on the roles of ecology in configuring, constraining, and confounding state programs of frontier control. Challenging steady-state theories, Bello portrays the eighteenth-century economic and demographic expansions on Qing borderlands after they came under unified administration as unsustainable and poorly managed intensification.' Xiuyu Wang, Environmental History

    'Bello's meticulously researched and eloquently written book will certainly resonate for environmental historians, but the story that emerges from this remarkable piece of scholarship extends well beyond environmental history.' Hang Lin, Asian Affairs

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2016
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107068841
    • length: 350 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.65kg
    • contains: 5 maps 9 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Qing fields in theory and practice
    2. The nature of imperial foraging in the SAH basin
    3. The nature of imperial pastoralism in southern Inner Mongolia
    4. The nature of imperial indigenism in southwestern Yunnan
    5. Borderland Hanspace in the nineteenth century
    6. Qing environmentality.

  • Author

    David A. Bello, Washington and Lee University, Virginia
    David Bello is an Associate Professor of East Asian History at Washington and Lee University, Virginia.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.