Dianchi Lake belongs to the Jinshajiang River system of the Yangtze River Basin. Due to the fast growth of economic and social development, Dianchi Lake has lost its self-purification capability and suffers from serious eutrophication. This study summarized historic trajectory of the ecological and environmental changes in the lake basin, with emphasis on the changes of physical, chemical, biological, and ecological characteristics of the lake as well as the social development in recent years. Despite the great efforts initiated by the government aiming at restoration of the environmental quality of the lake, the results were not substantially significant. We believe that a comprehensive lake model is imperative to understand the ecological functions of the lake and establish scientifically defined realistic goals for the restoration. In addition, continual modernization of rural area and certain adjustment in population decentralization in the lake basin area will help reduce the environmental pressure.

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