, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 219-234

Asian great lakes, especially Lake Biwa

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Synopsis

The geological and biological history of Asian great lakes, especially Lake Biwa in Japan, are reviewed. The origins and affiliations of endemic flora and fauna are interpreted in light of current understanding of Lake Biwa. Recent historical changes in the lake, including detrimental impacts on native fauna and water quality are summarized. The social and cultural values associated with Asian lakes are reviewed, and contrasted to those of lakes elsewhere. In general Asian great lakes are smaller than those elsewhere, with the notable exception of Lake Baikal. Furthermore, Asian lakes are typically more eutrophic, with higher primary productivity. Societal values in China and other Asian countries have tended to favour nutrient enrichment and increased cultured fish production from lakes. Asian societies, however, have long attached important artistic, poetic and cultural values to their lakes.

Paper from the Canadian Society of Zoologists symposium ‘Great Lakes of the World’, organized by David L.G. Noakes.