Nutrient pollution and critical thresholds for Chinese lakes: a case of Lake Taihu

A.B.G. Janssen, Jing Yang, Xiaolin Li, M. Strokal, C. Kroeze, W.M. Mooij

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract


China has gone through a vast development of economy, human population and society. Whilst this vast development has strengthened China’s international position, it has also resulted in environmental issues including eutrophication of lakes. As a result many Chinese lakes experience turbid waters with toxic cyanobacteria blooms including Lake Taihu. These cyanobacterial blooms are detrimental to ecosystem services such as the provisioning of water for drinking and irrigation, and to food supply and tourism. To prevent eutrophication to impede China’s future sustainable development, it is important to understand the possible consequences of eutrophication of freshwater lakes. In this respect, two important aspects need to be addressed.The first aspect is to determine current nutrient loads to lakes from all sources. Nutrient loads to lakes can be based on measurement data or estimated by models such as MARINA. The second aspect is to determine the critical nutrient load of the specific lake that marks the threshold between clear and turbid water. Critical nutrient loads can be determined by ecosystem models like PCLake. By combining knowledge on the current load with the critical nutrient load, managers can define goals to reduce the nutrient load beyond the critical nutrient loadHere we focus on the assessment of the current and critical nutrient loads of Lake Taihu, a large shallow lake (area: 2250km², average depth: 2 m) that is located in southeast China. This lake became hypereutrophic during last decades. Depending on the maximum allowable chlorophyll-a concentrations, our results show that 50-90% of the current nutrient load to Taihu has to be reduced to reach sufficient water quality. We compare this output with findings for other Chinese lakes. This knowledge is valuable for sustainable development in China.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Society of Limnology XXXIV Congress Book of abstracts
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event34th Congress of the International Society of Limnology - Nanjing, China
Duration: 19 Aug 201824 Aug 2018


Conference34th Congress of the International Society of Limnology


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