Water hyacinth in China: A sustainability science-based management framework

Jianbo Lu, Jianguo Wu, Zhihui Fu, Lei Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


The invasion of water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) has resulted in enormous ecological and economic consequences worldwide. Although the spread of this weed in Africa, Australia, and North America has been well documented, its invasion in China is yet to be fully documented. Here we report that since its introduction about seven decades ago, water hyacinth has infested many water bodies across almost half of China's territory, causing a decline of native biodiversity, alteration of ecosystem services, deterioration of aquatic environments, and spread of diseases affecting human health. Water hyacinth infestations have also led to enormous economic losses in China by impeding water flows, paralyzing navigation, and damaging irrigation and hydroelectricity facilities. To effectively control the rampage of water hyacinth in China, we propose a sustainability science-based management framework that explicitly incorporates principles from landscape ecology and Integrated Pest Management. This framework emphasizes multiple-scale long-term monitoring and research, integration among different control techniques, combination of control with utilization, and landscape-level adaptive management. Sustainability science represents a new, transdisciplinary paradigm that integrates scientific research, technological innovation, and socioeconomic development of particular regions. Our proposed management framework is aimed to broaden the currently dominant biological control-centered view in China and to illustrate how sustainability science can be used to guide the research and management of water hyacinth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)823-830
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • Biodiversity
  • Biological invasion
  • China
  • Environmental management
  • Sustainability science
  • Water hyacinth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Pollution


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