, Volume 39, Issue 5–6, pp 385–393 | Cite as

Eutrophication in a Chinese Context: Understanding Various Physical and Socio-Economic Aspects

  • Chao Gao
  • Taolin Zhang


Eutrophication is now a ubiquitous water quality impairment in China. The first step toward restoration of eutrophicated water bodies is a marked reduction of nutrient loadings in their drainage basins. However, the combination of a number of physical and socio-economic factors is now producing compounded increases in nutrient loads while the nutrient assimilation capacities of natural systems are decreasing. Meanwhile, most of the lakes in densely populated part of China are shallow and very susceptible to anthropogenic alteration. Therefore, in spite of ascending efforts in eutrophication control upward trends of algal blooms in both fresh and coastal waters have been observed for the past two decades. Huge knowledge gap exists in our understanding of the sources and pathways of nutrient losses to aquatic ecosystems. Successful water quality restoration of China’s eutrophic waters relies not only on more resource input but also more emphasis on basic, integrated, and management-oriented research.


Eutrophication Nutrient loads Water quality management China 



Financial support was provided by National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 40771186 and No. 40730635). The authors wish to thank anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on the original manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Geographic and Oceanographic SciencesNanjing UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Institute of Soil ScienceChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingPeople’s Republic of China

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