GNF - Poyang

Lake Poyang – People´s Republic of China


Background Lake Poyang

Poyang-hu is the largest freshwater lake in China, situated in the Jiangxi Province, approximately 50 km north of Nanchang. The Poyang flood plain is subject to massive changes in water level.

In the dry season the size of the lake shrinks to less than 1,000 sq. km, leaving a complex of wetlands and mudflats which attracts up to half a million waterfowl, among them remarkable species such as the Siberian Crane with more than 4,000 specimen (95 % of the world’s population) and the White-naped Crane with more than 2,000 individuals. In the rainy season (late summer) the size of the lake grows up to 4,400 sq. km. The average depth is 8.4 m, the maximum depth is 25.1 m. The lake is connected to the Yangtse River (Chang Jiang) through a 1 km long channel and serves as a natural overflow reservoir. The lake basin is one of China’s most important rice-producing regions. Due to regular severe floods the Jiangxi is among the poorest provinces in China. In autumn 1998 the area was affected by a dramatic flood.

The major problems are the poisoning of birds (swans, geese and ducks) through agricultural pesticides, siltation, electro fishing by the local fishermen to harvest the fish and poverty, especially of the farmers. More than 1,000 sq. km of wetland areas were drained from 1954 to 1984. Erosion and degradation left large areas (670 sq. km) of "waste land" behind, sandy areas with no vegetation.

There exist practically no purification treatment plants for the local sewage water and therefore the eutrophication of the water increases. Nevertheless the water quality is still good (Class II). Negative impacts originate of toxic heavy metals pollution from copper mines in the eastern part of the lake.

More information about Lake Poyang

Detailed Data

 Satelite view of Poyang Lake
 Bird migration

Project measures Lake Poyang

The Living Lakes partner organisation at Lake Poyang is MRLSD (Promotion Association for Mountain-River-Lake Regional Sustainable Development), a non-governmental non-profit organisation located in Nanchang (Jiangxi Province).


MRLSD´s purpose is to promote activities to protect and develop China’s largest freshwater lake and its watershed and to solve the problems of ecological degradation and poverty. The challenge is to maintain the still good ecological character of the site and at the same time to enable local people to achieve a higher living standard. MRLSD supports the MRL (Mountain-River-Lake) programme, which was started in 1985 by the Jiangxi provincial government with the aim to promote sustainable development and implement Agenda 21 issues in the region. Another focus is to find solutions to problems that started two decades ago such as serious soil erosion, floods and droughts, pollution, degradation and poverty.


In November 2009, the national China Living Lakes Network (CLLN) was founded during the 13th World Lakes Conference in China. The establishment of this network will help find solutions and exchange strategies for the protection of the lakes and wetlands within this vast country. This network is coordinated by MRLSD.


The partner Jiangxi Academy of Sciences, as the only comprehensive institute of natural science research in Jiangxi Province, has investigated researches related to Poyang Lake for a long time since the first Scientific Survey in Poyang Lake was conducted in 1983. Some specific research teams were formed in their institute, including wetland environment & plant ecology, water environment & pollution control, soil environment & ecological restoration, and Oncomelania ecology & Schistosome control, and the institute has been engaged in many collaborative research and development projects concentrating on protection and sustainable development of Poyang Lake and its wetland ecosystems. There are lots of experiences as well as lessons related to the conservation and exploitation of lake-wetland, which we want to exchange with other organisations, one of which is the mountain-river-lake project. The Institute demonstrates leadership role by reaching out and sharing the experiences with relevant research communities throughout the region and further afield.

 Rice grains
 Siberian Cranes

The banded Siberian Crane (#08) has been monitored in Poyang Lake Reserve for two consecutive years

On 2nd November 2013, staff of Jiangxi Poyang Lake National Nature Reserve monitored a Siberian Crane family in Dahuchi, the core lake of the reserve, and the mother crane is with a blue ring marked “#08” on its right leg. This crane (#08) was a one-year-old female chick banded and released on 13th August, 1993, by a Russian expert in Ushkan Lake of Yakut, Russia (70°38′N, 146°48′E), about 5,000 km away from Poyang Lake. By far, it has been surviving in the wild for more than 20 years, which is really a long life for a wild crane. And the fact that the crane was foraging with its family and feeding its chick in the lake shows that it still has the ability to reproduce.


Actually, there was no information from this crane after its release for 19 years until it was photographed in Dahuchi for the first time on 18th February 2012, by Mr. Yu Huigong, an ecological photographer in the Jiangxi Province, China. This year is the second time that this crane has been seen in the reserve, which supports the conclusion that the flyway of the Siberian Cranes is from Russia to Poyang Lake.

 The banding Siberian Crane (#08) at Poyang Lake Reserve in November 2013.

Poyang Lake Named to One of the Sites for 7 Wonders of Endangered Species

Recently, Poyang Lake, the largest wintering site for the Siberian Cranes in Jiangxi Province, China was named to one of the sites for 7 Wonders of Endangered Species. The campaign of 7 Wonders of Endangered Species was launched by the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE), and its objective is to push nations to come together to save the world’s species and wild places through the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. To choose the seven winners, votes were cast via social media (AZE’s Facebook page) for 20 short-listed sites selected from among the 587 AZE sites so far identified globally. The nomination of Poyang Lake shows that Poyang Lake has received more and more attention from home and abroad and enjoyed more and more famous international reputation, which can be regarded as support and recognition of wetland and migratory bird protection work of Poyang Lake National Nature Reserve.


This campaign received more than 100,000 votes from the public, and the AZE 7 wonders sites and their AZE species are as follows: Rodrigues Mainland, Mauritius - Rodrigues Flying Fox, Abra Patricia, Peru - Long-whiskered Owlet, Río Saija, Colombia - Golden Poison Frog, Roti Island, Indonesia – Roti Island Snake-necked Turtle, Poyang Hu, China – Siberian Crane, Raso da Catarina, Brazil - Lear''s Macaw, Isla Robinson Crusoe, Chile - Juan Fernández Firecrown.


The AZE 7 Wonders campaign was launched in September 2012, at the World Conservation Congress in Jeju, South Korea, where some 8,000 people gathered to address global conservation issues. The congress was hosted by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species was used by AZE to help identify 920 Endangered and Critically Endangered species restricted to the 587 AZE sites worldwide.



Partnerorganisationen Poyang See



Partner Organisations

Promotion Association for Mountain-River-Lake Regional Sustainable Development (MRLSD)

Chen Kui, Mr. Liao Guochao, Mao Yuting

North One Road No.14, Jiangxi Provincial Government Complex

Nanchang City 330046, P. R. China

Phone:  00 86 – 791 – 62 68 623

Fax: 00 86 – 791 – 62 88 747




Jiangxi Academy of Sciences (JXAS)

Wang Xiaohong

7777 Changdong Avenue, Nanchang 330096, P. R. China

Phone: +86 - 791 - 81 77 683

Fax: +86 - 791 - 81 77 149



 Jiangxi Academy of Sciences