Environmental Management

, Volume 51, Issue 3, pp 724–737 | Cite as

Modeling Nutrient Release in the Tai Lake Basin of China: Source Identification and Policy Implications



Because nutrient enrichment has become increasingly severe in the Tai Lake Basin of China, identifying sources and loads is crucial for watershed nutrient management. This paper develops an empirical framework to estimate nutrient release from five major sectors, which requires fewer input parameters and produces acceptable accuracy. Sectors included are industrial manufacturing, livestock breeding (industrial and family scale), crop agriculture, household consumption (urban and rural), and atmospheric deposition. Results show that in the basin (only the five sectors above), total nutrient loads of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) into aquatic systems in 2008 were 33043.2 tons N a−1 and 5254.4 tons P a−1, and annual area-specific nutrient loads were 1.94 tons N km−2 and 0.31 tons P km−2. Household consumption was the major sector having the greatest impact (46 % in N load, 47 % in P load), whereas atmospheric deposition (18 %) and crop agriculture (15 %) sectors represented other significant proportions of N load. The load estimates also indicate that 32 % of total P came from the livestock breeding sector, making it the second largest phosphorus contributor. According to the nutrient pollution sectors, six best management practices are selected for cost-effectiveness analysis, and feasible options are recommended. Overall, biogas digester construction on industrial-scale farms is proven the most cost-effective, whereas the building of rural decentralized facilities is the best alternative under extreme financial constraint. However, the reduction potential, average monetary cost, and other factors such as risk tolerance of policy makers should all be considered in the actual decision-making process.


Nutrient loads Tai Lake Basin Best management practice (BMP) Cost-effectiveness analysis 



This research was supported by the National Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 70903030).


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control & Resource Reuse, School of EnvironmentNanjing UniversityNanjingChina

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