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A U.S.-China EcoPartnership study of disturbed wetland vegetation in West Dongting Lake, China

May 16, 2021

West Dongting Lake in China is important for human livelihoods and habitat of migratory waterfowl and other wildlife. The waterway re-engineering and agriculture intensification have contributed to changes in hydrology, sediment, and vegetation on the floodplain. This paper describes an EcoPartnership program conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey, Wetland and Aquatic Research Center, and Beijing Forestry University. It focused on the development of a wetland ecosystem network in West Dongting Lake with technical support from the U.S. partner using a number of related studies to examine wetland vegetation dynamics from upstream to downstream along the tributaries. The results of U.S. studies showed that the regeneration potential of species might be altered by changes in climate and local environment, and seed bank depletion by germination may be a major conservation threat in a future with recurring droughts in swamps of the southeastern United States. In the monsoonal wetlands of West Dongting Lake, the soil seed bank could be used as a seed source for revegetation after hydrologic restoration with the introduction of certain foundational species and the removal of poplar plantations. Also, West Dongting Lake is at high ecological risk of mercury pollution. Wetland ecosystem monitoring may allow managers to use the information to predict effects of climate change, water level and flow changes on sedimentation, and to manage for desired vegetation to support waterfowl and ecosystem services. The cooperation of two countries through the EcoPartnership program is now well established and poised for extensive research projects in the future.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2021
Title A U.S.-China EcoPartnership study of disturbed wetland vegetation in West Dongting Lake, China
DOI 10.1002/ep.13673
Authors Ting Lei, Beth Middleton
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Environmental Progress and Sustainable Energy
Series Number
Index ID 70222934
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Wetland and Aquatic Research Center