Dike-based Communities between Water and Sand: The Sand-land Environmental System in Dongchong, South China, 1720s–1980s

  • Jianxiong Ma
Part of the Palgrave Studies in World Environmental History book series (PSWEH)


The mouth of the Pearl River, from Panyu 番禺 District toward Nansha 南沙 District of Guangzhou City, is the centre of a delta famed for its sand-land (also known as sand fields or polders). From the northwest to the southeast, three main water channels of the Pearl River divide the sand-lands into stretches of farmland, giving the area its name as ‘a town of rivers on sand-land’ 沙田水 鄉. Today, this area covers 99.66 square kilometres, comprising three main channels: the Xiqiao Channel, the Shawan Channel, and the Liugang Channel.


Powerful Lineage Pearl River Delta Qing Dynasty Sand Sedimentation Tenant Farmer 
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© Jianxiong Ma 2016

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