What is the reason why mass extermination of sparrows caused a great famine in China?

In the 1950s, the pest control campaign led by Mao Zedong killed sparrows, which were known to eat rice. Originally, the rice harvest should have increased due to the reduction of pests, but in reality, it resulted in a disastrous crop failure. History Defined, which summarizes historical content, explains why such a thing happened.

How Killing Sparrows Led to Great Famines in China


As chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China since 1945, Mao Zedong initiated major urban and agricultural reforms for the Chinese people.

From 1958 to 1961, China carried out a campaign aimed at industrialization and increasing agricultural production under the Great Leap Forward policy. One of them was the ' Four Extermination Movement ', which aimed to prevent the spread of disease by exterminating the four major pests in Japan.

In this movement, four species were targeted for extermination: rats, mosquitoes, flies, and sparrows. These were known to carry disease, and sparrows in particular were targeted because they were suspected of eating domestic grains. Eliminating these harms was an urgent task for the Chinese government, which was focusing on increasing production of precious food.

In 1959, a law was quickly passed requiring Chinese citizens to exterminate sparrows.

To prevent the sparrows from resting in their nests, people beat up pots and pans and destroyed nests all over the country. Any sparrows that were found were killed and forced out of their natural habitat and forced to find safer places.

Among them, the Polish embassy in Beijing is known to have refused to kill the sparrows and became a refuge for the remaining sparrows. However, although the Polish embassy refused entry to the Chinese to protect the sparrows, the Chinese surrounded the embassy and beat the drums for two days to kill the sparrows.

At first, it seemed to Mao that the extermination movement was working efficiently. Mao Zedong believed that he saved 4 kg of rice per sparrow per year, but in reality it created an even more devastating ecological problem for rice farming.

Basically, sparrows are predators of many insects, including locusts, which damage crops. Eliminating sparrows, which are predators, is nothing but inviting

locust damage , and eventually it will give a devastating blow to China.

As a result, the Great Leap Forward policy, which continued for a year, did not produce the expected results. cause human deaths.

As crop yields dwindled, farmers turned to steel production and construction, leaving crops to rot in the fields.

After that, China will import 250,000 sparrows from the Soviet Union to prevent ecological collapse. As a result of the return of the sparrows to the ecosystem, the locust population is said to have declined and the poor harvest has subsided. After that, the four-harm extermination movement shifted its target from sparrows to bedbugs.

'It's hard to believe that a bird as heavy as a smartphone could trigger a devastating crop failure,' said History Defined. It's a fact that it's been overlooked. Every time the ecosystem is disturbed, humans are also affected.The ecosystem is greatly influenced by the type of plant and animal, 'he concluded the topic.

in Creature, Posted by log1p_kr