China is the largest contributor to global greening trends over the past two decades, pursuing large-scale tree planting and revegetation initiatives. This type of ecological engineering is controversial, given concerns about China’s authoritarian environmentalism. This essay examines such Chinese efforts and how they diverge from Western environmental approaches based on nature preservation. Chinese environmentalism is based on a tradition that does not delineate nature from culture, the natural from the engineered. This distinction has consequences for global environmental governance in the Anthropocene as China promotes its approach to the global South.

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