Human impact on current environmental state in Chinese lakes

Erik Jeppesen , Qianhong Wang , Yun Li , Le Liu , Suzhen Cui , Xia Liu , Feizhou Chen


Received March 11, 2022,Revised , Accepted May 20, 2022, Available online June 02, 2022

Volume 35,2023,Pages 297-307

Anthropogenic and natural disturbance to inland aquatic ecosystems displays a notable spatial difference, yet data to measure these differences are scarce. This study encompasses 217 lakes distributed over five lake regions of China and elucidates the environmental factors determining the spatial variability of the water quality and trophic status. A significant correlation between human modification index in surrounding terrestrial systems (HMT) and trophic status of lake ecosystems (TSI) was found, and the regression slope in each region was similar except in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau region. It was further noted that the pattern of environmental factor network (EF network) differed among freshwater and saline lakes. The EF network was complex for freshwater lakes in less human-influenced areas, but intensive man-made influence disrupted most relationships except for those between total nitrogen, total phosphorus, chlorophyll-a, and water turbidity. As for regions including saline lakes, correlations among water salinity and organic forms of carbon and nitrogen were apparent. Our results suggest that HMT and EF network can be useful indicators of the ecological integrity of local lake ecosystems, and integrating spatial information on a large scale provides conservation planners the option for evaluating the potential risk on inland aquatic systems.

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