Artificial Regulation of Water Level and Its Effect on Aquatic Macrophyte Distribution in Taihu LakeReport as inadecuate




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Management of water levels for flood control, water quality, and water safety purposes has become a priority for many lakes worldwide. However, the effects of water level management on the distribution and composition of aquatic vegetation has received little attention. Relevant studies have used either limited short-term or discrete long-term data and thus are either narrowly applicable or easily confounded by the effects of other environmental factors. We developed classification tree models using ground surveys combined with 52 remotely sensed images 15–30 m resolution to map the distributions of two groups of aquatic vegetation in Taihu Lake, China from 1989–2010. Type 1 vegetation included emergent, floating, and floating-leaf plants, whereas Type 2 consisted of submerged vegetation. We sought to identify both inter- and intra-annual dynamics of water level and corresponding dynamics in the aquatic vegetation. Water levels in the ten-year period from 2000–2010 were 0.06–0.21 m lower from July to September wet season and 0.22–0.27 m higher from December to March dry season than in the 1989–1999 period. Average intra-annual variation CVa decreased from 10.21% in 1989–1999 to 5.41% in 2000–2010. The areas of both Type 1 and Type 2 vegetation increased substantially in 2000–2010 relative to 1989–1999. Neither annual average water level nor CVa influenced aquatic vegetation area, but water level from January to March had significant positive and negative correlations, respectively, with areas of Type 1 and Type 2 vegetation. Our findings revealed problems with the current management of water levels in Taihu Lake. To restore Taihu Lake to its original state of submerged vegetation dominance, water levels in the dry season should be lowered to better approximate natural conditions and reinstate the high variability i.e., greater extremes that was present historically.



Author: Dehua Zhao , Hao Jiang, Ying Cai, Shuqing An

Source: http://plos.srce.hr/



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