“Ecological Systems of East Asia”

Ecological Systems of East Asia is one of a series of books that faithfully record author Wu Lisong’s journey around ten East Asian nations This volume covers a region the western reader often is unfamiliar with, and it takes a more ecological point of view than its companions in the series.

Wu provides his impressions of China, North and South Korea, Burma, Mongolia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia. In doing so, he offers a literary description of the grasslands of Mongolia, the mountains of North Korea, the islands of South Korea, the bays of Indonesia and the rivers of south-east Asia, as well as the impact the local cultures and economies have had on these ecosystems.

Although the ecosystem is the focus in each case, there are different emphases: the influence of laws and policy on the circular economy vis-à-vis South Korea’s Jeju Island, for example, or the ecological changes that almost a century of war have brought to Cambodia.

Formerly a senior Chinese government official, Wu is now chair of the China Circular Economic Research Centre and head of the Beijing Circular Economic Promotion Committee, so he has deeper insights into his topic than the average writer might. Subsequent to his travels, he came to realise that “the worldwide trend is towards a circular economy to achieve a knowledge-based economy”, and that China differs from the west in “modern and scientific ideals and concepts, efficient use of natural resources, maintenance of ecosystems and degree of implementation of a circular economy.”

His writing is vivid and easy to understand, and his book is undoubtedly worth reading. It is impossible to concisely sum up its rich content – so why not take a look yourself?

Ecological Systems of East Asia
Wu Lisong
China Development Press, 2007

— By Li Siqi