Du, BJ; Wang, ZM; Mao, DH; Li, HY; Xiang, HX (2020). Tracking Lake and Reservoir Changes in the Nenjiang Watershed, Northeast China: Patterns, Trends, and Drivers. WATER, 12(4), 1108.

In terms of evident climate change and human activities, investigating changes in lakes and reservoirs is critical for sustainable protection of water resources and ecosystem management over the Nenjiang watershed (NJW), an eco-sensitive semi-arid region and the third-largest inland waterbody cluster in China. In this study, we established a multi-temporal dataset documenting lake and reservoir (area >= 1 km(2)) changes in this region using an object-oriented image classification method and Landsat series images from 1980 to 2015. Using the structural equation model (SEM), we analyzed the diverse impacts of climatic and anthropogenic variables on lake changes. Results indicated that lakes experienced significant changes with fluctuations over the past 35 years including obvious declines in the total area (by 42%) and number (by 51%) from 1980 to 2010 and a slight increase in the total lake area and number from 2010 to 2015. More than 235 lakes in the size class of 1-10 km2 decreased to small lakes (area < 1 km(2)), while 59 lakes covering 243.75 km(2) disappeared. Total reservoir area and number had continuous increases during the investigated 35 years, with an areal expansion of 54.9% from 919 km(2) to 1422 km(2), and a number increase by 65.3% from 78 to 129. The SEM revealed that the lake area in the NJW had a significant correlation with the mean annual precipitation (MAP), suggesting that the MAP decline clarified most of the lake shrinkage in the NJW. Furthermore, agricultural consumption of water had potential impacts on lake changes, suggested by the significant relationship between cropland area and lake area.