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Yangtze Basin lakes shrinking as climate change, development takes its toll

by Damaris Waigwa last modified Jan 27, 2012 09:33 AM
Beijing - A new WWF study finds that many Yangtze River Basin lakes are shrinking dramatically and could dry up completely if measures aren’t taken to stem the impacts of climate change, increased industrialization, and urbanization along China’s longest river.

The Yangtze Conservation and Development Report 2011 (YCDR 2011) shows that lower water levels, rapid urbanization and large water infrastructure projects across the Yangtze Basin are impacting the overall health of many lakes along the 6,300km river, which supports the livelihoods of nearly one-third of China’s population.

“Lake ecosystems in the Yangtze River Basin are showing tell-tale signs of degradation, and problems like water eutrophication from industrial runoff are on the rise. We are also seeing a decline in flood retention capacity and insufficient water supply. These changes are putting increased pressure on many of the species found in the Yangtze, including the finless porpoise and Chinese carps,” says Yang Guishan, President of the Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

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