Management of Three Lakes in Yunnan, China:
How can ecological protection and "human-centered" development be balanced?
Officials in the Yuxi municipal government must determine how to restore water quality and maintain ecological integrity of three lakes while also preserving local livelihoods.
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Several problems, common to many watersheds of the world, are threatening the water quality of lakes in the Yuxi City District of Yunnan, China. These include inputs from agriculture, mining operations, and lake-shore hotels that are part of the strong local tourism industry. The local government is charged with improving or maintaining the water quality of several lakes, while also protecting human livelihoods in the area. In this case study, students first propose management approaches to meet this charge, and then compare their ideas with projects that are actually being implemented on site. The comparison leads to a deeper look at how context influences strategic management choices, as well as the reality of applying approaches that are aimed to balance ecological and socioeconomic goals.