Participants from all six of the countries within the Mekong Basin as well as from Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand and the USA have participated in different research. Since 2003 to date, four joint research investigations have evolved:

• Asialink’s project on urban wetland ecosystem management, involved University of Salzburg and University of Helsinki, Finland;

• Bamboo of Cambodia, Lao PDR and Vietnam, involved Museum of Natural History Paris, France;

• Botanical study of the family Zingiberaceae, involved Royal Botanic Garden-Edinburgh, Singapore Botanic Garden;

• Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP), a survey of 531 wetlands in the whole Mekong Basin, involved scientists of US Geological Survey (USGS), International Crane Foundation (ICF), examined a landscape never before studied in the region.

Theses research projects exemplified the potential of the Network

Figure 2 A survey of
A survey of 531 wetlands in the whole Mekong basin by the Network


Understanding, Classifying & Mapping Human Use and Natural Resources in Pilot Wetlands of Cambodia and Vietnam to Promote Sustainable Development

This project seeks to define how people, fish, birds and wetlands are connected in the Mekong River Basin.  Fish and birds utilize wetlands and are fauna that are crucial to the overall assessment of biological diversity within the region. People also benefit greatly from wetland resources, but these uses cannot be incorporated into sustainable use plans unless they are understood and mapped.  In the process of defining this relationship between wetlands and biological diversity, the proposal also endeavors to map the natural wetlands of the two pilot areas and devise a classification system for these wetlands. Both the map and classification systems are needed so that scientists, managers and decision-makers can better communicate about these critical ecosystems in the region.  Although there are likely more than 12,000 natural, small wetlands in Cambodia alone, these important ecosystems have not been examined in much detail anywhere in the Mekong Basin.  Importantly, this estimate of natural wetlands does NOT include reservoirs or other man-made wetlands.   Future phases of this work will expand from the foundation developed in the pilot areas to wetlands throughout the Mekong Basin. River development and changes in land-use are likely to alter these systems tremendously in the future.  Without a basis for defining what and how wetlands and their associated biological diversity might be affected, it is impossible to understand the full impact of any development project.

Our proposal thus seeks to support one Vietnamese Ph.D. student and two Khmer M.S. students who will explore wetland, bird, and fish systems in wetlands of the lower Mekong Basin, starting with the diversity of wetlands that exist in Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary (Cambodia) and Yok Don National Park (Vietnam).  Additional surveys are planned beyond the parameters of this proposal, but the proposal contained herein will establish the overall process we will use now and in the future years of this study.  The graduate students will be jointly supervised by faculty at three primary universities: Can Tho University, Royal Agriculture University, Vietnam National University – Ho Chi Minh City; and at two NGO organizations: FISHBIO (Lao PDR) and the International Crane Foundation (USA), thus three Lower Basin Mekong countries plus the USA are involved in this collaboration.

The specific research questions that will be addressed by our integrated team of graduate students:

  1. Where are wetlands of Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary and Yok Don National Park located and how can we map them?
  2. What ecosystem products and services do small wetlands in Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary and Yok Don National Park provide, including ecological functions?
  3. How do variations in wetland size, geomorphology, and hydrology influence bird and fish diversity?
  4. How do different kinds of development effect (both products and services) various wetland types?
  5. How can small, scattered wetlands in pilot areas of Cambodia and Vietnam (in the tens of thousands) be classified?

The first year of this 24-month project will be used to survey a range of diverse wetlands known to exist in the dry, open forest of Cambodia and Vietnam.  The three graduate students will work as a team and sample wetlands late in the rainy season and early in the dry season.  Long-term trends in wetland use by people (including ecotourism) and long-term trends in hydrology will be assessed through discussion with people living near wetlands that are sampled.  Bird diversity will be measured in wetlands directly through spot-mapping along transects that ranges from the wetland center to 400m into the open forest beyond the wetland edge.  Fish diversity and habitat use will be measured by direct sampling and by surveying local knowledge.  Wetland sampling will be stratified to examine basins that vary in size, geomorphology, hydrological function, and human use.  Satellite imagery will be used to extrapolate from direct wetland sampling to the broader landscape of northern Cambodia and the Central Highlands of Vietnam.  The second year will begin with a small workshop for the team to identify an analysis and write-up plan.  After plans are developed data analysis and writing will commence.  Meetings with wetland conservation officials at the park level and at the national level will be held in both countries to begin transferring the findings of our preliminary work to decision-makers at two important levels of government.

Land loss and subsidence in the Mekong River Delta: A Surface Elevation Table (SET) program

Le Xuan Thuyen
University of Science, Vietnam National University Ho-Chi Minh city

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Community-based environmental monitoring using social media for the Mekong Delta – a salinity monitoring prototype

Duong Van Ni (1), Nguyen Hieu Trung (1), Van Pham Dang Tri (1), Ly Hoang Phi (1), Ngo Thao Nguyen (1), Truong Quoc Dinh (2), Lam Chi Nguyen (2), Cindy Thatcher (3), Craig Conzelmann (3), Scott Wilson (3)
1. The College of Environment and Natural Resources (CENRes), CanTho University (CTU), Vietnam
2. The College of Information & Communication Technology (CICT), Can Tho University (CTU), Vietnam
3. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the United States

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Contact Details

Duong Van Ni

CEO, Wetland University Network (WUN)

College of Natural Resource Management

T: +84 909 987 887



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