The China Water and Soil History Network (CWS-H) is created by Professor Micah Muscolino, Professor and Paul G. Pickowicz Endowed Chair in Modern Chinese History at UC San Diego. It explores the history of land use, environmental change, and water and soil conservation in northwest China’s Loess Plateau region from the early-twentieth century to the present. It aims to promote the study of human interactions with soil and water in Chinese environmental history and welcomes contributions from a wider community of scholars and students interested in the area.

CWS-H website publishes and archives historical GIS, photographic images, archival documents, and quantitative data sets, allowing for analysis of the changing biophysical environment of the Loess Plateau and the impact of water and soil conservation programs on human well-being.

Story Maps

This section contains a set of maps, images and other visuals that illustrate or supplement historical writings, often published articles. Readers can approach them as Viz Blogs for the historians.

Archived Maps

This section contains maps from the water and soil conservation survey reports, as well as from other sources such as the European Soil Data Centre.


The online database features downloadable Excel spreadsheets that contain statistical information from each water and soil conservation survey report published in late 1953 and early 1954.  The data can be searched using keywords in simplified Chinese characters.


This project is supported by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange.

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