A Tree Grows in China

Naturalists, Nationalists, and the Responsibility of Protecting China’s “Living Fossil” Redwood

in Journal of American-East Asian Relations
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?



Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.



Help

Have Institutional Access?



Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



Connect

In the mid-1940s, the discovery of a living metasequoia glyptostroboides in China made international headlines. American naturalists sought to influence the Nationalist government’s policy to protect the species, although many retained doubts about the regime’s capability to do so. These naturalists also feared that local communities threatened the tree’s continued existence. This article examines how notions of responsibility informed American discussions about attitudes toward environmental protection, scientific knowledge production, and the duties of state and society concerning these matters in China. This way of thinking about China reflected not only an older discourse about China’s capacity to initiate Western-inspired change, but also the weak state of the government of the Republic of China and new approaches to nature protection after 1945. The Nationalist government’s retreat from the mainland coincided with an acceptance among American naturalists that the Chinese state and its society lacked responsible attitudes for American-styled environmental protection.

A Tree Grows in China

Naturalists, Nationalists, and the Responsibility of Protecting China’s “Living Fossil” Redwood

in Journal of American-East Asian Relations

References

2

H. H. Hu“How Metasequoia, The “Living Fossil” was Discovered in China,” Journal of the New York Botanical Garden 49 (September 1948): 202–203. More details are available in Guofan Shao et al. “Zhan Wang (1911–2000)” Taxon 49 (August 2000): 593–96; Milton Silverman “Science Makes a Spectacular Discovery” San Francisco Chronicle 25 March 1948 pp. 1–3.

3

Hu“How Metasequoia The “Living Fossil” was Discovered in China” pp. 202–204; Milton Silverman Search for the Dawn Redwoods (San Francisco: The Author 1990) 22–30.

8

Merrill to Chaney 15 January 1948ibid.

9

Hu“How Metasequoia The “Living Fossil” was Discovered in China” p. 204.

10

Mark V. Barrow Jr.Nature’s Ghosts: Confronting Extinction from the Age of Jefferson to the Age of Ecology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press2009) chapter 6; Emily Wakild “Border Chasm: International Boundary Parks and Mexican Conservation 1935–1945” Environmental History 14 no. 3 (July 2009): 453–75. See als Roderick Frazier Nash Wilderness and the American Mind 4th edition (New Haven ct: Yale University Press 2001) especially chapter 16.

15

Grace Yen ShenUnearthing the Nation: Modern Geology and Nationalism in Republican China (Chicago: University of Chicago Press2013).

16

Ian TyrrellCrisis of the Wasteful Nation: Empire and Conservation Theodore Roosevelt’s America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press2015) 18.

21

John H. Reisner“Progress of Forestry in China,” Journal of Forestry 19 (April 1921): 398.

22

Hui-lin Li“Botanical Exploration in China during the Last Twenty-Five Years,” Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London 156 (June 1944): 25–27.

23

Chungshee H. Liu“The Advancement of Science in China during the Past Thirty Years,” Science 98 issue 2533 (16 July 1943): 48.

24

Cyrus H. Peake“Some Aspects of the Introduction of Modern Science into China,” Isis 22 no. 1 (December 1934): 216.

25

Richard A. Howard“Elmer Drew Merrill, 1876–1956,” Journal of the Arnold Arboretum 37 no. 3 (July 1956): 197–98.

27

W. C. Cheng to Merrill 19 July 1939folder 1 series 1 box 1 mgscaaa.

28

H. H. Hu to Merrill 7 March 1938ibid.

29

Hu to Merrill 22 August 1938ibid.

30

Hu to Merrill 14 June 1938ibid.

32

Chi-ting Kwei“Science, Education and China’s Reconstruction,” Scientific MonthlyNovember 1943 p. 426. See also E. Elena Songster “Cultivating the Nation in Fujian’s Forests: Forest Policies and Afforestation Efforts in China 1911–1937” Environmental History 8 no. 3 (July 2003): 468.

33

Li“Botanical Exploration in China during the Last Twenty-Five Years” p. 40.

34

Hollington K. Tong (ed.)China Handbook 1937–1945: A Comprehensive Survey of Major Developments in China in Eight Years of War (New York: Macmillan1947) 447–49.

35

Li“Botanical Exploration in China during the Last Twenty-Five Years” pp. 25–44. See also Liu “The Advancement of Science in China during the Past Thirty Years” pp. 47–51.

37

Cheng to Merrill 19 July 1939.

38

J. Linsley Gressitt“The California Academy-Lingnan Dawn-Redwood Expedition,” Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 28 (15 July 1953): 25–58; Kwei-Ling Chu and William S. Cooper “An Ecological Reconnaissance in the Native Home of Metasequoia Glyptostroboides” Ecology 31 no. 2 (April 1950): 260–78.

39

Merrill to Chaney 14 January 1948.

41

SilvermanSearch for the Dawn Redwoods p. 62.

43

SilvermanSearch for the Dawn Redwoods p. 56; Gressitt “The California Academy-Lingnan Dawn-Redwood Expedition” p. 42.

44

Chu and Cooper“An Ecological Reconnaissance in the Native Home of Metasequoia Glyptostroboides” pp. 268 275–76.

45

Ralph W. Chaney“Redwoods in China,” Natural HistoryDecember 1948 p. 444.

46

Gressitt“The California Academy-Lingnan Dawn-Redwood Expedition” p. 25; Chu and Cooper “An Ecological Reconnaissance in the Native Home of Metasequoia Glyptostroboides” pp. 275 276; Chaney “Redwoods in China” 444.

47

Chaney to Merrill 12 January 1948. See also Silverman Search for the Dawn Redwoods p. 28.

49

Hsueh Chi-ju“Reminiscences of Collecting the Type Specimens of Metasequoia glyptostroboides H. H. Hu & Cheng,” Arnoldia 45 (Fall 1985): 12.

50

Chu and Cooper“An Ecological Reconnaissance in the Native Home of Metasequoia Glyptostroboides” p. 261; Silverman Search for the Dawn Redwoods pp. 101–15.

53

NashWilderness in the American Mind pp. 343–347.

54

P. W. Tsou“Modernization of China Agriculture,” Journal of Farm Economics 28 no. 3 (August 1946): 773 777.

55

Tom Gill“Third World Forestry Congress,” Journal of Forestry 47 no. 1 (November 1949): 868–72; Fred Mallery Packard “International Technical Conference on the Protection of Nature” Journal of Forestry 47 no. 1 (November 1949): 875–76; S. B. Show “United Nations Scientific Conference on the Conservation and Utilization of Resources” Journal of Forestry 47 no. 1 (November 1949): 873–74.

56

Iolo Williams“World-Wide Education of the Public in the Protection of Nature,” in Proceedings and Papers of the International Technical Conference on the Protection of Nature (Paris: unesco 1950) 292.

58

Stuart to Chaney 30 April 1948folder “Stuart J. Leighton” box 7 rwcpuol.

61

Chu and Cooper“An Ecological Reconnaissance in the Native Home of Metasequoia Glyptostroboides” p. 276.

63

Chaney“Redwoods in China” p. 444; “Dean Pound Stirred by Finding Of Metasequoia Tree in China” Christina Science Monitor 25 May 1948 p. 2.

65

Chaney“Redwoods in China” p. 444. See also Chu and Cooper “An Ecological Reconnaissance in the Native Home of Metasequoia Glyptostroboides” p. 276; “Dean Pound Stirred by Finding Of Metasequoia Tree in China” p. 2.

66

Chaney“Redwoods in China” p. 444; Nichols “Chinese Realities and Resources” p. 6.

71

E. D. Merrill“Metasequoia, Another ‘Living Fossil,’” Arnoldia 8 no. 1 (5 March 1948): 6.

72

F. R. Fosberg“The Problem of Rare and Vanishing Plant Species” and John Ramsbottom, “Disappearance of Plant Species,”in Proceedings and Papers of the International Technical Conference on the Protection of Naturepp. 504 532.

73

Roscoe Pound quoted in Nichols“Chinese Realities and Resources” p. 16.

74

Henry R. Lieberman“Chiang’s Government is in Serious Situation,” New York Times31 October 1948 p. 10.

75

Nichols“Chinese Realities and Resources” p. 16.

80

Chaney to Donly Gray 14 April 1948folder “Metasequoia general” box 5 rwcpuol.

81

Ralph W. ChaneyRedwoods of the Past (San Francisco: Save-the-Redwoods League1951); Chaney to John F. Kautz 2 November 1948 and Michiji Taima to Chaney 5 October 1949 folder “Metasequoia general” box 5 rwcpuol. See also S. Miki to Chaney 24 December 1949 ibid.

83

J. Lanjouw (ed.)“Botanical Nomenclature and Taxonomy,” Chronica Botanica 12 (1948/1949): 7.

84

David C. D. Rogers“Professors Squabble Over Seeds From China’s Living Fossil Trees,” Harvard Crimson9 October 1952 p. 6.

86

Chaney to Hu 2 February 1951ibid.

88

Ibid. p. 111.

89

John Kuser“Metasequoia Keeps on Growing,” Arnoldia 42 no. 3 (Summer 1982): 130.

Index Card

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 11 11 9
Full Text Views 4 4 4
PDF Downloads 2 2 2
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0