Limnologists had an early preoccupation with lake classification. It gave a necessary structure to the many chemical and biological observations that were beginning to form the basis of one of the earliest truly environmental sciences. August Thienemann was the doyen of such classifiers and his concept with Einar Naumann of oligotrophic and eutrophic lakes remains central to the world-view that limnologists still have. Classification fell into disrepute, however, as it became clear that there would always be lakes that deviated from the prescriptions that the classifiers made for them. Continua became the de rigeur concept and lakes were seen as varying along many chemical, biological and geographic axes. Modern limnologists are comfortable with this concept. That all lakes are different guarantees an indefinite future for limnological research. For those who manage lakes and the landscapes in which they are set, however, it is not very useful. There may be as many as 300000 standing water bodies in England and Wales alone and maybe as many again in Scotland. More than 80 000 are sizable (> 1 ha). Some classification scheme to cope with these numbers is needed and, as human impacts on them increase, a system of assessing and monitoring change must be built into such a scheme. Although ways of classifying and monitoring running waters are well developed in the UK, the same is not true of standing waters. Sufficient understanding of what determines the nature and functioning of lakes exists to create a system which has intellectual credibility as well as practical usefulness. This paper outlines the thinking behind a system which will be workable on a north European basis and presents some early results.
|Number of pages||12|
|Publication status||Published - 1994|