Posted by: Bob Payne | September 16, 2011

Shennongjia exposes reckless development of China’s water resources

The mountain road that winds above the steep ravines of Shennongjia ought to offer one of the most attractive views in China. From dense, pristine forests to criss-crossing rivers, it passes near an area of ecological wealth that is recognised both by the United Nations as a World Biosphere Reserve, and by popular culture as the impenetrable home of the mythical “Shennongjia wild man.” But in recent weeks, this stunning region has drawn the nation’s attention to the uglier side of economic development as details emerge of a rapid and poorly regulated expansion by small, hydroelectric power plants that have choked local rivers with dams, pierced mountain slopes with pipes and left locals fuming about the loss of their livelihoods.

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