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Using palaeolimnological data and historical records to assess long-term dynamics of ecosystem services in typical Yangtze shallow lakes (China)

Xu, Min, Dong, Xuhui, Yang, Xiangdong, Wang, Rong, Zhang, Ke, Zhao, Yanjie, Davidson, Thomas A., Jeppesen, Erik
The Science of the total environment 2017 v.584-585 pp. 791-802
biodiversity, climate, ecosystem services, ecosystems, fish, humans, hydrology, lakes, land use change, primary productivity, resource management, water management, water purification, watersheds, China, Yangtze River
Understanding the dynamics of ecosystem services (ESs) is crucial for sustainable resource management. Palaeolimnological records have a great potential to reveal long-term variations and dynamic interactions in ESs, especially supporting/regulating services, which are not easily quantified by documentary records. To elucidate the variations between eight important ESs in shallow lake ecosystems, we combined documentary records with palaeolimnological proxies (covering the past 100years) from two typical lakes (Lakes Taibai and Zhangdu) of the Yangtze River basin. Although all supporting services and some provisioning services have increased, the regulating services of the two lakes have markedly declined, in particular since the 1950s. Human activities, including hydrological intervention, nutrient input and land-use change, were identified as the main factors behind the observed variations. Both in Lake Taibai and Zhangdu, primary production and biodiversity (supporting services) have increased (synergies), whereas climate and water purification (regulating services) have significantly decreased (tradeoffs) since the 1950s when attempts were made by the local population to reach a higher land/fish ESs level. By considering long-term records, dynamic tradeoff and synergy relationship between various ESs relative to different types of human “modification” in a temporal perspective, we suggest valuable information can be gained in future lake management initiatives.