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《Acta Ecologica Sinica》 2003-09
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The dike-pond system in the Pearl River Delta: degradation following recent land use alterations and measures for their ecological restoration

NIE Cheng Rong 1,2 , LUO Shi Ming 1, ZHANG Jia En 1, LI Hua Shou 1, ZHAO Yu Huan 3 (1.Institute of Tropical and Subtropical Ecology, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China; 2.Institute of Crop Genetics and Breeding, Foshan University, Foshan 528231, China; 3.Dept. of Agronomy, Zhongkai Agrotechnical College, Guangzhou 510225, China).  
The traditional dike pond system (DPS) that has been developed and practiced in the Pearl River Delta for centuries is a sustainable agro ecosystem in low lying area. It has an obvious land water interaction and remarkable eco economical effect. In general, a DPS consists of fish ponds surrounded by crop dikes (mulberry, sugar cane, grass, flowers or vegetables). Most of the crops are used to feed the silkworms or livestock (ducks, geese, pigs etc.) and the manure from these animals are added to the pond as part of the fish feeds. The bottom mud of the pond are periodically excavated and added on the dike to increase soil fertility. A DPS is a particular artificial ecosystem of land water interaction, and also a special crop fish animal production system, so it has the characteristics of both terrestrial ecosystem and freshwater ecosystem. The system has a comprehensive structure and multi levels. The input and output of material and energy in the dike pond system are basically balanced. The sections of the system coordinate and benefit each other. Each unit of the DPS can give various agricultural and aquatic products with high productivity. However, severe environmental pollution and land degradation has occurred since the late 1980s. Following the replacement of mulberry by other crops in dike and the decline of traditional Chinese carps production in ponds, a more intensive monoculture has emerged. The dike pond system was mismanaged and the degradation of the system has happened. Rapid urbanization and industrialization of the Pearl River Delta have triggered the degradation of DPS in the recent two decades. A great quantity of contaminants, especially organic and heavy metal pollutants accumulated in the system, resulting in the loss of the normal function of many dike pond systems. Too much pesticides and heavy metal rich feed are used in many DPS, leading to the concentration of contaminants along the food chain, eventually endangered human health and aquatic life. Because of the relatively low profit, many farmers did not want to run the dike pond system anymore, so that the dike dilapidated, the bottom mud of the pond filled up there, the DPS degraded and the system productivity became lower. The degradation of the DPS and the pollution of low lying land always promote each other, which have affected the agriculture and the regional environment, and become the trouble of the sustainable development. The environmental pollution, market oriented, over intensive mono cultural systems which are focusing primarily on expanding pond surface to raise production value per unit area, are becoming threats to the sustainability of the dike pond system. It is necessary to understand that the DPS has important social, ecological and economic impacts on the region. Based on the theory of restoration ecology and ecological engineering design, a series of ecological safe models with economic feasibility were put forward in this paper. The main countermeasures to restore the degraded DPS include the water restoration of the pond, the rehabilitation of the dike soils, the remediation of environmental pollution, and the appropriate combination of dikes and ponds.
【Fund】: 国家自然科学基金资助项目(30270270);; 洛克菲勒兄弟基金会资助项目;; 广州市星火计划资助项目~~
【CateGory Index】: S181
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