Aim Hydrological disconnection of floodplains from rivers is among the top factors threatening river-floodplain ecosystems. To keep enough floodplain area is of great importance to biodiversity conservation. In the Yangtze River floodplain, most lakes were disconnected from the mainstream by dams in 1950-1970s. By analysing fish diversity data, we aim at determining the effects of river-lake disconnection on fish diversity, at estimating the minimum protected area of river-connected lakes and at proposing a holistic strategy for fish conservation in the mid-lower reaches of the river. Location The Yangtze River floodplain, China. Methods We collected recorded data of fish diversity of 30 Yangtze floodplain lakes. Species-area relationships were analysed and compared between river-connected and river-disconnected lakes. Cumulative species-area models were constructed to estimate the minimum protected area of river-connected lakes. Results River-lake disconnection reduced fish diversity of Yangtze lakes by 38.1%, so that the river-connected lakes play an important role in maintaining the floodplain biodiversity. The minimum protected area of river-connected lakes was estimated to be 14,400 km2. Therefore, we should not only protect the existent connected lakes of 5500 km2, but also reconnect disconnected lakes of at least 8900 km2 in the Yangtze basin. Main conclusions Species-area relationships are of importance in reserve design. We suggest that cumulative species-area model might be more suitable for ecosystems with high connectivity among regions such as floodplains. As the Yangtze River floodplain is an integrative ecosystem, we suggest establishing a holistic nature reserve in the mid-lower basin for effective conservation of biodiversity.
1.Chinese Acad Sci, State Key Lab Freshwater Ecol & Biotechnol, Inst Hydrobiol, Wuhan 430072, Peoples R China
Liu, Xueqin; Wang, Hongzhu.Estimation of minimum area requirement of river-connected lakes for fish diversity conservation in the Yangtze River floodplain,DIVERSITY AND DISTRIBUTIONS,2010,16(6):932-940