Climate change affecting land use in the Mekong Delta: Adaptation of rice-based cropping systems
The Mekong Delta is Vietnam's main rice area and accounts for half of annual rice production.Use of rice land in the Delta is divided into agro-hydrological zones controlled by flood duration and depth, water availability, and salinity regimes.
Over the last 30 years, Vietnamese farmers have been adapting to changing environmental conditions by diversifying and modifying their production systems and water management. But recent and forecasted agro-hydrological changes threaten the viability of these farming and social systems and, subsequently, food security within Southeast Asia.
The main constraints to farmers' ability to adapt to the new hydrological regime are availability of suitable cultivars, soil nutrient management options, insufficient knowledge of potential harm from acid sulphate soil inundation, and planning tools.
This project builds on core work that has been undertaken by IRRI and its Vietnamese and Australian research partners - encompassing improved resilience in rice production and numerous nutrient-cycling projects in the region. The project is designed to increase the adaptive capacity of rice production systems in the Mekong Delta Region (MDR), and its overarching objective is to provide farmers and management agencies with technologies and knowledge that will improve food security in the Mekong Delta.
Donors and partners
Theme 1: Location-specific impact and vulnerability assessment
Theme Leader: Nguyen Xuan Hien (SIWRP)
International Consultants: Dr. Reiner Wassmann (IRRI) and Dr. Chu Thai Hoanh (IWMI)
Project management staff meeting with SIWRP technical staff (L photo) and Theme 1 members (R photo)
The geo-spatial component will analyse flooding and salinity risks under different sea-level scenarios and implications for different land use options backed up by considering direct climate impacts
Act. 1.1: Literature review and meta-analysis of available data and documents on climate change projections for Mekong Delta River (MDR) to identify potential production constraints for future production
Act. 1.2: Assessing hydrological impacts of different sea level rise scenarios in MDR Region (hydraulic modelling)
Act. 1.3: Geographical Information System (GIS) mapping of flooding depth and salinity levels within the MDR as a function of sea-level rise and envisaged upstream development projects for different land use options
Act. 1.4: Comparative assessment of climate change impacts on rice production in the 4 target areas (An Giang, Can Tho, Hau Giang, and Bac Lieu)
Act. 1.5: Mapping (delta-wide) of vulnerability and potential ‘hot-spots’ of flooding and salinity damage
Theme 2: Improvement of salinity and submergence resilience of locally-adapted rice varieties and elite lines
Theme Leader: Dr. Nguyen Thi Lang(CLRRI)
International Consultants: Dr. Abdelbagi Ismail (IRRI), Dr. Russell Reinke (IRRI)
Salt and submergence tolerant rice varietal screening at CLRRI experimental field (L photo) and participatory varietal selection researcher- managed experimental trial (PVS RM) of 11 salt tolerant rice in Phuc Long, Bac Lieu province (R photo)
BC1F1 salt tolerant rice screening (L photo) and BC1F1 submergence tolerant rice screening at CLRRI experimental field.
The plant breeding component will improve tolerance of rice germplasm to a variety of direct and indirect impacts of climate change, namely:
- complete submergence through transfer of the Sub1 gene into locally developed lines;
- partial stagnant flood through further identification and development of germplasm tolerant of these conditions, and investigation of the physiological mechanism conferring adaptation;
- flooding during germination through transfer of stage-specific tolerance to anaerobic conditions; and
- salinity through transfer of Saltol gene into varieties of suitable maturity and adaptation, separately and in combination with Sub1 for coastal areas experiencing both stresses.
Act. 2.1: Identify locally adapted varieties and elite breeding lines as recipients of Sub1 and Saltol
Act. 2.2: Generate and disseminate improved rice lines tolerant of temporary (complete) submergence -- through transfer of the Sub1 gene into local popular varieties and newly developed elite breeding lines
Act. 2.3: Generating and disseminating improved rice lines tolerant to salinity through transfer of Saltol gene into varieties of suitable maturity and adaptation, separately and in combination with SUB1
Act. 2.4: Generating improved rice germplasm resilient to stagnant (partial) flood – through further identification and development of germplasm tolerant to these conditions, and investigation of the physiological mechanism conferring adaptation
Act. 2.5: Exploring improvement of rice germplasm resilient to flooding during germination and early seedling establishment – through investigation tolerance to anaerobic conditions during germination
Theme 3: Managing resources for resilient rice-based systems coping with rapidly changing environments
Theme Leader: Dr. Le Van Hoa (CTU)
International Consultants: Dr. To Phuc Tuong (IRRI), Dr. Bennet Macdonald (CSIRO)
Meeting with members and international consultants in farmer’s field in Phuc Long, Bac Lieu province
PRA survey at Ta Danh village, Tri Ton district, An Giang province (L photo) and Theme 3 members (R photo)
The Crop and Natural Resource Management component aims at developing and refining management options for different agro-ecological zones and new decision support tools for a climate change (CC) resilient rice-based system though improved understanding of element cycling, soil plant and cropping systems responses to altered hydrology.
Act. 3.1: Participatory rural appraisal (PRA) survey for constraint analysis of cropping systems and identifying promising solution for CC adaptation
Act. 3.2: Field experiments comprising (i) site selection and experiment design (derived from PRA), (ii) site characterization, (iii) implementing field trials with promising rice varieties (from the Mekong Delta River (MDR)) and crop management strategies, and (iv) data analysis and reporting
Act. 3.3: Process studies on stress responses in target regions through pot experiments (In Vietnam) and solid column studies (in Australia)
Act. 3.4: Assess the role of non-rice crops in rice based for climate change adaptation
Theme 4: Analysis of farming systems and socio-economic settings in rice farming households
Theme Leader: Dr. Dang Kieu Nhan (CTU)
International Consultants: Dr. Thelma Paris (IRRI), Dr. Peter Brown(CSIRO), Dr. John Ward (CSIRO), and Dr. Nguyen Tri Khiem (AGU)
Meeting with members and international consultants (L photo) and Theme 4 members (R photo)
Baseline household assessment in the study sites.
The socioeconomic research component of the project will aim to identify the biophysical, social and economic factors determining the capacity of farmers to adapt to climate change, understand the role of key institutions in influencing farmers’ decisions and capacity to adapt, and evaluate the benefits of the new rice varieties in terms of the extent of adaptive capacity they are likely to confer under projected future climate and socioeconomic conditions.
Act. 4.1: Baseline livelihood assessments
Act. 4.2: Sustainable livelihood and adaptation strategy assessments
Act. 4.3: Policy and institutional arrangement analysis
Act. 4.4: Participatory fine-tuning of project-generated technologies and assessing benefits in terms of adaptive capacity
Act. 4.5: Explore possible extension pathways of research findings of the project
Theme 5: Integrated adaptation assessment of Bac Lieu Province and development of adaptation master plan
Theme Leader: Dr. Nguyen HieuTrung (CTU)
International Consultants: Dr. To Phuc Tuong, Dr. Chu Thai Hoanh (IWMI)
Meeting with members, DARD and GIZ Bac Lieu staff (L photo) and Theme 5 members (R photo)
Soil sampling and rapid analysis at Bac Lieu project site
The In-depth study on the coastal area will explore possible adaptation through land use planning through one case study (Bac Lieu province). Based on detailed inventories of soils, hydrological features and land use, yields and financial returns of different options will be compared using crop models coupled to Geographical Information System (GIS). Finally, this information will be used to optimize land use at province scale derived from a multiple Goal Linear Programming approach.
Act. 5.1: Fine-mapping of salinity borders in high spatial and temporal resolution different sections of Bac Lieu province under current and projected sea level and sluice operations
Act. 5.2: Determining the benefits from potential improvements in infrastructure (sluice and dyke system) in terms of salinity and flooding risks of Bac Lieu province
Act. 5.3: Fine-mapping of soils and current land use in Bac Lieu Province through remote sensing and ground-truthing
Act. 5.4: Analyse biophysical land suitability for rice based land use systems under different sea level rise and infrastructure development scenarios
Act. 5.5: Interact with stakeholder of all levels to identify socio-economic constraints for the adoption of more resilient farming systems and recommend institutional/ policy changes
Act. 5.6: Apply multiple-goal linear programming for land use planning and define a master plan on climate change adaptation
Act. 5.7: Derive ‘lessons learnt’ from this case study for future development of adaptation master plans in other provinces
Theme 6: Capacity building for assessing Green House Gas emissions
Theme Leader: Dr. Cao Van Phung (CLRRI)
International Consultants: Dr. Reiner Wassmann and Dr. Bennett Macdonald
Training on Gas Chromatograph operation and GHG measurement at CLRRI
The GHG component will provide training and scientific infrastructure facilitating initial GHG emission measurements in rice systems and to record baseline emissions from conventional management and adaptation technologies.
Act. 6.1: Establishing a laboratory for gas analysis and training of researchers at CLRRI
Act. 6.2: Training of researchers and students in flux sampling
Act. 6.3: Conducting flux measurements
Act. 6.4: Assessing gaseous C and N emissions for a comprehensive analysis of element cycling and budgets
Act. 6.5: Deriving emission factors and spreadsheet tools from field data for quantifying GHG emissions in rice systems of Mekong Delta River (MDR)
Coordination and integration
Theme Leaders: Dr. Nguyen Hieu Trung (CTU) and Dr. Ngo Dang Phong (IRRI)
International Consultants: Dr. Reiner Wassman and Dr. Romeo V. Labios (IRRI)
The coordination component will create a sound infrastructure for all project activities, ensure internal and external communication flow, supervise progress of activities and organize workshops
Act. C1: Creating sound logistics at the project office and target areas, establishing efficient administrative procedures and organizing regular project meetings
Act. C2: Generating efficient pathways of information fluxes for internal purposes and public visibility
Act. C3: Monitoring progress of individual tasks and the performance of project-derived adaptation packages to define eventual adjustment of activities
Act. C4: Assessing the relevance of project findings for other rice production environments, in particular, for other regions in Vietnam and for the Australian rice industry
Act. C5: Reporting and publications
Participants of the First Project Review and Planning Meeting, Cantho University, Vietnam, 18-19 October 2011
For more information about the CLUES Project, please contact:
Can Tho University, Campus 2, 3/2 Street, XuanKhanh ward,
Ninhkieu District, Can Tho City, Vietnam