, Volume 44, Issue 7, pp 635–646 | Cite as

Evaluating anthropogenic N inputs to diverse lake basins: A case study of three Chinese lakes

  • Wei Gao
  • Dennis P. Swaney
  • Bongghi Hong
  • Robert W. Howarth
  • Yong Liu
  • Huaicheng GuoEmail author


The environmental degradation of lakes in China has become increasingly serious over the last 30 years and eutrophication resulting from enhanced nutrient inputs is considered a top threat. In this study, a quasi-mass balance method, net anthropogenic N inputs (NANI), was introduced to assess the human influence on N input into three typical Chinese lake basins. The resultant NANI exceeded 10 000 kg N km−2 year−1 for all three basins, and mineral fertilizers were generally the largest sources. However, rapid urbanization and shrinking agricultural production capability may significantly increase N inputs from food and feed imports. Higher percentages of NANI were observed to be exported at urban river outlets, suggesting the acceleration of NANI transfer to rivers by urbanization. Over the last decade, the N inputs have declined in the basins dominated by the fertilizer use but have increased in the basins dominated by the food and feed import. In the foreseeable future, urban areas may arise as new hotspots for nitrogen in China while fertilizer use may decline in importance in areas of high population density.


Net anthropogenic N inputs (NANI) Eutrophication Lake Nitrogen Nonpoint source 



This study was funded by a grant from the China Scholarship Council, the Major Science and Technology Program for Water Pollution Control and Treatment of China (2013ZX07102), and National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41222002).

Supplementary material

13280_2015_638_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (123 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 66 kb)


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wei Gao
    • 1
  • Dennis P. Swaney
    • 2
  • Bongghi Hong
    • 2
  • Robert W. Howarth
    • 2
  • Yong Liu
    • 1
  • Huaicheng Guo
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, The Key Laboratory of Water and Sediment Sciences, Ministry of EducationPeking UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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