An evaluation of the negative effects caused by anthropogenic influence on lake ecosystems was performed, using data from 143 catchments in Uppsala County, Sweden. The study included i) technical encroachments; i.e. construction of dams, dikes, etc. as well as effects of drainage of land; ii) pollution, i.e. eutrophication, acidification, and contamination by toxic substances; iii) introduction of nonnative species; and iv) exploitation of species populations. Severe damage was caused mostly by drainage of land followed by pollution by toxic substances and, to a smaller extent, introduction of nonnative species and eutrophication. Most lakes were subject to several types of disturbances, interacting in a complex pattern, which made it difficult to link the visible effects to the true causes of the disturbance. Future lake management should include analyses of all disturbances to the lake catchments, taking into account the historical perspective, in order to balance the threats/damages, in an analysis of the possibilities for maintaining biodiversity and sustainability in the eco-systems.
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