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Resilience and Restoration of Lakes

Stephen R Carpenter, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Kathryn L Cottingham

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Abstract

Lake water quality and ecosystem services are normally maintained by several feedbacks. Among these are nutrient retention and humic production by wetlands, nutrient retention and woody habitat production by riparian forests, food web structures that cha nnel phosphorus to consumers rather than phytoplankton, and biogeochemical mechanisms that inhibit phosphorus recycling from sediments. In degraded lakes, these resilience mechanisms are replaced by new ones that connect lakes to larger, regional economi c and social systems. New controls that maintain degraded lakes include runoff from agricultural and urban areas, absence of wetlands and riparian forests, and changes in lake food webs and biogeochemistry that channel phosphorus to blooms of nuisance al gae. Economic analyses show that degraded lakes are significantly less valuable than normal lakes. Because of this difference in value, the economic benefits of restoring lakes could be used to create incentives for lake restoration.

Key words

ecological economics, ecosystem, eutrophication, lake, resilience, restoration, watershed.
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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087