Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 219–234 | Cite as

Asian great lakes, especially Lake Biwa

  • Hiroya Kawanabe
Invited review


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.

Key words

Flora Fauna History Asian lakes Chinese lakes Lake Toba Lake Tonle Sap 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hiroya Kawanabe
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Ecological ResearchKyoto UniversityOtsuJapan

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