A Glimpse of Farming in South-China: 1967-2005

The following photographs illustrate various products and aspects of farming in South-China from 1967 through 2005.  Many of these products are still produced here today. Most photographs are of Guangdong Province and a smaller number of Yunnan Province and Hong Kong.  The intent is to provide the viewer with a flavor for the variety of Chinese products derived from their tropical/sub-tropical environment. Other photos illustrate common Chinese farm-buildings and still others show damaged and degraded lands that once supported moist, tropical forests.

South-China farm houses

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Tiled-roof farm houses of Guangdong Province cut into sloping terraine, 1998  (Photos above by W.E. Parham)

Dai viallage, Yunnan

Farm-house style typical of southern Yunnan Province, 1990, (Photo by W.E. Parham)

South-China products


Tea; terraces in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, 2003  (Photo by W.E. Parham)


Swine: Gloucester hog on farm in southern Guangdong Province, about  (Photo by W.E. Parham)


Rice: rice shoots in paddy (front) with vegetable gardens behind, Guangdong Province, 2003.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)


Vanilla: vine with beans climbing post, Yunnan Province. The beans are a high value crop; 1990.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)


Rubber:  White latex flowing from rubber tree to cup, Yunnan Province; 1990.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)


Litchis and longans (front); bananas (in rear): Gaozhou fruit-growing area, Guangdong Province, 1990  (Photo by W.E. Parham)


Vegetables: a small vegetable farm on Hebao Island, Guangdong Province, 1990  (Photo by W.E. Parham)


Papaya: a common fruit of Guangdong Province, 2003.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)


Tangerines: newly planted trees in terraces of decomposed granite, Guangdong Province, 2003.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)


Pineapples: young pineapple plants in southern Yunnan Province, 1990. (Photo by W.E. Parham)

Jiebei orchard, Lufeng, 1990

Oranges:  The first crop grown on this leveled, sandy soil near Lufeng, Guangdong Province, 1990.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)


Carambolas: commonly called star fruit, southern Guangdong Province, 1999.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)


Turtles:  ponds and pens where turtles are raised on a farm in southern Guangdong Province, 1990.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)

Nan'ao fish farming

Farmed marine-fish:  small container-pens hanging beneath floating platforms where marine fish are raised, Nan’ao Island, east Guangdong Province, 1999.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)

Geese on fish pond

Water fowl:  domestic and wild ducks and geese use man-made fish ponds as their home in southern Guangdong Province, 1990.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)

fish ponds and banannas, PRC

Fresh-water fish; many types of carp are raised in ponds that are edged with bananas and other fruit trees in southern Guangdong Province, 1990.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)

Junks & awnings, Cheung Chau, H.K., 1975

Ocean fish: part of Cheung Chau island’s fishing-junks moored at Sai Wan, Hong Kong, 1975.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)



Bamboo:  a child’s bamboo playpen displayed in Sun Yat-Sen’s house, Zhongshan, Guangdong Province, 2005.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)


Bamboo:   water pipes of bamboo used in the farm village of Manmao in southern Yunnan Province, 1990.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)


Pearl-farm;  buoys, floating in the sea off Nan’ao Island, used to  support oyster growth for the production of cultured pearls, 2001. (Photo by W.E. Parham)

Silt-laden rivers


Mekong River:  passing through southern Yunnan Province near Xishuangbanna, and carrying a heavy load of silt from eroded land upstream, 1990.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)


Silt-choked river:  Eroded farm land upstream in central Guangdong Province is the source of the river sediment.  This particular area is known for its superior bamboo for use in making fly rods for fishing; 2001. (Photo by W.E. Parham)

Degraded lands


Severely eroded, highly weathered granite under reclamation in Wuhua County, Guangdong Province, 1998. (Photo by W.E. Parham)


Erosion-damaged land on deeply weathered granite near Dian Bai, southwest Guangdong Province, show the effects of uncontrolled water erosion once vegetation is removed; 1994  (Photo by W.E. Parham)


Deeply eroded  landscape at Dian Bai, southwest Guangdong Province.  Small clumps of vines cover small patches of a hostile environment;  2003  (Photo by W.E. Parham)


“Beng-gang,” the Chinese name for a certain kind of gulley erosion, in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province.  The erosion feature is horse-shoe shaped  with its opening towards the viewer, and is common in deeply weathered granite terrane in Guangdong; 2003  (Photo by W.E. Parham)


Extensive grassland today on Lan Tau, Hong Kong, once was covered by moist, tropical forest.  Once the tree cover was cleared, wildfires helped maintain the grassland vegetation even with annual rainfall of ~80-100 inches;  1967  (Photo by W.E. Parham)



Medical waste was used for fertilizer in some litchi and longan orchards near Gaozhou, Guangdong Province, a hazardous practice; 1999.  (Photo by W.E. Parham)


Erosion has exposed bedrock under land that was once forested, southwest Guangdong, 2003  (Photo by W.E. Parham)

img778Extensive erosion is evident here on deeply weathered granite, Castle Peak, Hong Kong.  Note that vegetation here is mostly in small valleys where rainfall runoff collects.  Barren land is not likely to reestablish vegetation cover unaided for long periods of time; 2005  (Photo by W.E. Parham)

W.E. Parham, July 22, 2015


  1. Thank you very much for this fascinating historical photo journey. I am reading a document about Nan’ao Island and am interested in its transformation.

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