Zeng, C; Liu, YL; Liu, YF; Hu, JM; Bai, XG; Yang, XY (2011). An Integrated Approach for Assessing Aquatic Ecological Carrying Capacity: A Case Study of Wujin District in the Tai Lake Basin, China. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH AND PUBLIC HEALTH, 8(1), 264-280.
Aquatic ecological carrying capacity is an effective method for analyzing sustainable development in regional water management. In this paper, an integrated approach is employed for assessing the aquatic ecological carrying capacity of Wujin District in the Tai Lake Basin, China. An indicator system is established considering social and economic development as well as ecological resilience perspectives. While calculating the ecological index, the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) is extracted from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) time-series images, followed by spatial and temporal analysis of vegetation cover. Finally, multi-index assessment of aquatic ecological carrying capacity is carried out for the period 2000 to 2008, including both static and dynamic variables. The results reveal that aquatic ecological carrying capacity presents a slight upward trend in the past decade and the intensity of human activities still exceeded the aquatic ecological carrying capacity in 2008. In terms of human activities, population has decreased, GDP has quadrupled, and fertilizer application and industrial wastewater discharge have declined greatly in the past decade. The indicators representing aquatic ecosystem conditions have the lowest scores, which are primarily attributed to the water eutrophication problem. Yet the terrestrial ecosystem is assessed to be in better condition since topographic backgrounds and landscape diversity are at higher levels. Based on the work carried out, it is suggested that pollutant emission be controlled to improve water quality and agricultural development around Ge Lake (the largest lake in Wujin District) be reduced.