Land of Plenty
Much of the Yangtze basin’s economy centers on agriculture. The soil and climate in Sichuan province, often called the land of plenty by its people, are ideal for growing rice, cotton, wheat, barley, corn, and beans. Farming also takes place in the lower basin and delta, as well as in the plains between the Yangtze River and its
Although only one-fourth of the Yangtze basin is suitable for farming, the basin contributes almost half of China’s crop production.
tributary the Han. In some areas, two or three crops are harvested each year.
Fishing and Fisheries
For many people living in the Yangtze basin, fishing is a major source of revenue. Hundreds of species of fish, including carp, bream, Chinese perch, and Chinese sturgeon, live in the Yangtze River and its tributaries.
White and black amur are the most economically valuable species of fish.
LEFT: A traditional Chinese boat on the Yangtze River.
Economic development, however, has taken a toll on the river’s fish populations. Since 2002, fishing has been banned during certain months along different stretches of the Yangtze River. The annual fishing ban is meant to help replenish and preserve fish species endangered by overfishing.
In 2009, 120,000 Chinese sturgeons were released into the Yangtze River in an effort to boost the population of the endangered species in the wild. The Chinese sturgeon is sometimes called a living fossil. It is one of the world’s oldest vertebrates, dating back about 140 million years. Fewer than 300 wild sturgeons were thought to be living in the Yangtze River prior to the 2009 release. The endangered fish’s decline has been largely caused by pollution and illegal fishing.
The Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River is the largest hydroelectric project in the world.