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Challenges in the in Mekong and Red River Deltas

River deltas are environmental and economic hotspots, as they are both biodiverse ecosystems as well as home and food production areas to a large proportion of the world' population. Worldwide, the vulnerability of socio- and agro-ecological systems in deltas is increasing by climate change-related impacts (e.g., sea level rise, salt water intrusion) as well as rapid socio-economic developments and transformations (e.g., human-induced changes in the deltas such as flood controls and changes in water and sediment dynamics or climate/social driven shifts in land use).

Overview map of the study areas in DeltAdapt

The Mekong and Red River deltas are examples of such fertile but vulnerable regions where the production of rice, vegetables and aquaculture products is crucial for the livelihood of local farmers and the overall development of Vietnam. Upstream dams have been built for hydropower generation influencing river discharge while sea dykes and sluice gates have been installed to control flooding as well as salinity intrusion (Kuenzer et al., 2012). As a combined result of sea level rise and changes in river discharge, the salinity intrusion from the South China Sea and the Gulf of Thailand increases as well, particularly during the low flow season. For this reason, rice production is more and more threatened by salinity intrusion imperilling the livelihood of local farmers.

Land use systems_neu.jpg 

Diversity of land use systems in the deltas: double rice (a), vegetable, and vegetable-rice (b), fresh water fish farming (c), rice-shrimp system (d), intensive shrimp system (e) and calm farming (f). © DeltAdapt