A recent paper by Qiang He and co-authors (including Steve) looks at economic development and coastal change in China. The conclusion is that the coastal habitats of China are rapidly degrading and that this is due to economic growth per person, not to population increases. Because China is still a relatively poor country and should see considerably more economic growth in the future, there needs to be a much stronger system of environmental protection to prevent future coastal degradation.
He et al. 2014, Economic development and coastal ecosystem change in China. Scientific Reports 4:5995, doi 10.1038/srep05995