Decades of violent upheaval during the Late Ming and Early Qing in Sichuan caused the human population to decrease dramatically. Subsequent processes of rewilding reveal the tight connection between humans and their environment as well as the human interpretation of such dramatic changes. First, the irrigation facilities and former agricultural landscape of Sichuan deteriorated along with the decline of the human population. Due to lack of labour, the neglect and ultimate collapse of the Dujiangyan irrigation system in western Sichuan province resulted in rice-paddy agriculture becoming untenable. This led to the farmlands going through a process of rewilding. Then, when tigers proliferated and tiger-attacks became a common occurrence in Sichuan, the status of predator/prey and the activity spaces between humans and tigers were reversed. The tiger attacks were terrifying and interpreted as an example of social failure, representing the tension between human and environment that contributed to the temporary retreat of the human from the Sichuan Basin.