01 Aug '13, 12pm

The Rise of Rubber Takes Toll On Forests of Southwest China

The Rise of Rubber Takes Toll On Forests of Southwest China

The Rise of Rubber Takes Toll On Forests of Southwest China In one of China’s most biodiverse regions, the spread of rubber plantations to supply the country’s burgeoning automobile industry is carving up habitat and harming watersheds and tropical forest ecosystems. by mike ives In the 1960s, when Zhou Fabei moved to Xishuangbanna prefecture, a tropical corner of southwest China’s Yunnan province, he quickly landed a job building roads for new rubber plantations. The timing of his move from the populous central province of Hunan couldn’t have been better for him: China’s post-revolutionary government had just started slashing forests and promoting rubber cultivation by state-run firms. By the 1980s, the government was offering incentives to the prefecture’s poor farmers — many of them from ethnic-minority groups — to plant rubber on their homesteads as a way to escape pov...

Full article: http://e360.yale.edu/feature/the_rise_of_rubber_takes_tol...

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