Title

Socioeconomic Implications of Sea Level Rise in the Mekong River Delta, Vietnam

Presentation Type

Poster

Abstract

Saline intrusion and soil acidification associated with sea level rise have become a threat to the food security and livelihoods of millions of farmers in low-lying coastal countries, such as those in the Mekong River Delta of southern Vietnam. The Mekong River Delta is home to over 17 million people, 80% of whom depend on rice production for survival. Known as Vietnam’s “rice basket,” 46% of all food produced in Vietnam is grown in the delta, however the area of land suitable for rice production becomes smaller with each millimeter of sea level rise. The objective of this research is to project arable land loss due to sea level rise and examine different adaptation and mitigation strategies of farmers in this region. Using ArcMap, I will model the potential land area lost due to sea level rise, for the seven most affected provinces in the delta and calculate potential loss of income for farmers affected. This will be based on current population density estimates in each province, as well as average elevation and location with respect to the South China Sea. I will analyze annual income of farmers, and those farmers’ responses to changing environmental conditions. These responses range from experimenting with new strains of rice that are better able to cope with longer and more unpredictable flood seasons and increased salinity concentration, to converting rice paddies into shrimp farms, and efforts to reforest mangroves, to urban migration. It is important to understand the extent of the potential repercussions of sea level rise, so that we as humans can generate mitigation and adaptation strategies for these especially vulnerable areas with some sense of urgency. An understanding of these implications is vital to be able to prevent unnecessary food shortages and extreme poverty before it is too late.

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Apr 12th, 11:00 AM Apr 12th, 12:00 PM

Socioeconomic Implications of Sea Level Rise in the Mekong River Delta, Vietnam

UC Ballroom

Saline intrusion and soil acidification associated with sea level rise have become a threat to the food security and livelihoods of millions of farmers in low-lying coastal countries, such as those in the Mekong River Delta of southern Vietnam. The Mekong River Delta is home to over 17 million people, 80% of whom depend on rice production for survival. Known as Vietnam’s “rice basket,” 46% of all food produced in Vietnam is grown in the delta, however the area of land suitable for rice production becomes smaller with each millimeter of sea level rise. The objective of this research is to project arable land loss due to sea level rise and examine different adaptation and mitigation strategies of farmers in this region. Using ArcMap, I will model the potential land area lost due to sea level rise, for the seven most affected provinces in the delta and calculate potential loss of income for farmers affected. This will be based on current population density estimates in each province, as well as average elevation and location with respect to the South China Sea. I will analyze annual income of farmers, and those farmers’ responses to changing environmental conditions. These responses range from experimenting with new strains of rice that are better able to cope with longer and more unpredictable flood seasons and increased salinity concentration, to converting rice paddies into shrimp farms, and efforts to reforest mangroves, to urban migration. It is important to understand the extent of the potential repercussions of sea level rise, so that we as humans can generate mitigation and adaptation strategies for these especially vulnerable areas with some sense of urgency. An understanding of these implications is vital to be able to prevent unnecessary food shortages and extreme poverty before it is too late.