This article uses a case study in Southeast China to demonstrate how the substantial changes in rural livelihoods have been driven by a combination of “pull” forces from external economic development, and “push” forces from local areas, leading to a shift in rural household economic activities: household outmigration and de-population of the countryside, changes in energy consumption, and most importantly, changes in land uses and eventually, ecological restoration. Such dramatic changes are becoming common across the Chinese countryside. It is pointed out that economic development has generally caused a deterioration of the environment at least at the early period of economic growth, but the positive impacts, especially in some ecosystem in rural areas, have become more apparent.
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Vol. 40 • No. 1