Upland tea plantation
Principal Investigator Jiaguo Qi discusses land use in tea plantation near Chiang Rai, Thailand

Quantifying human and climate impacts on wetland ecosystems in the Lower Mekong River Basin

Project time period:
July, 2017 to July, 2020

Climate change and increased irrigation demand have caused a surge in hydroelectric dam construction in the Mekong River Basin. While these interventions have resulted in agricultural benefits and food security in some areas, the ecological consequences to lake and wetland ecosystems are significant but not fully understood. The complexity of interactions at the interface of land use decisions, climate change, and lake/wetland ecosystems in the Lower Mekong River Basin (LMRB) presents a grand challenge to sustainably manage natural resources and build resilient communities. It is not clear how dam construction and irrigation expansion in upstream areas will affect phenology and biogeochemistry in downstream wetland ecosystems such as Tonl√© Sap Lake. Thus, there is a critical need to quantitatively understand and model dynamic interactions across these remotely connected land and water systems. The primary goal of the proposed research is to improve our understanding of how human activities (dams and associated irrigation) affect ecological processes in wetlands, and to provide a scientific basis for improved operation of dams to help mitigate the expected effects of climate change. The objective of this proposed effort is to assess and model the impacts of dam construction and associated irrigation across the LMRB on the phenology and biogeochemistry of key wetland ecosystems.


GLP Themes: Land governance, Land change trade-offs for ecosystem services and biodiversity , Land management systems

GLP Methods: Co-production and transdisciplinarity, Decision Making, Econometrics, GIS, Interdisciplinary methods, Modelling, Participatory methods, Past land use/historical land use reconstruction, Qualitative social science methods (interviews, observations, document review, surveys), Remote Sensing, Spatial Analysis

Principal Investigator(s)