Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
Strengthening Capacity to Manage Ecosystems Sustainably for Human Well-Being

Downstream Mekong River Wetlands Ecosystem Assessment, Vietnam


The assessment covers the Downstream Mekong Wetlands in Vietnam, which are situated in 12 Vietnam southern provinces that is also known as the Cuu Long River Delta.

Lead institutions

Institute of Geography, Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources, Institute of Development Strategies, University of Can Tho.

Other institutions involved are local bodies including relevant Provincial Departments of Science, Technology and Environment, of Agriculture and Rural Development, of Aquaculture, and from Centre of Mangrove Studies (Ca Mau).

Contact information:

  • Mai Trong Thong
    Institute of Geography, National Centre for Natural Science and Technology
    18 Hoang Quoc Viet str., Cau Giay district
    Hanoi city,
    Vietnam S.R.
    Tel.: +84 4 756 2677
    Fax.: +84 4 836 1192

Focal issues

  • Assessment of changes in biodiversity of natural ecosystems (species composition, community structure, biotope, rare species, protection and special use forests, and protected areas);
  • Assessment on human impacts on natural ecosystems and environment (economic activities, social activities, natural disaster prevention and mitigation activities, out-of-date management measures and policies).
  • Sustainable development scenarios for ecological sub-regions (ecosystem goods and services, economic structure, development scope of key economic disciplines, economic structure shifting, amendment of available planning for ecological sub-regions);
  • Measures to implement development scenarios (population organization patterns, production models, solutions to technical infrastructural investment and fund sources, reform of policies and management measures, etc.).

Project outputs

  • Establishment of a GIS database on ecosystems of every ecological sub-regions, and of procedure for organizing and making full use of the built database for ecosystems management in localities;
  • Training to strengthen capacity for local authorities in managing ecosystems through uniform data sources and sub-regions linked computer networks; and
  • Education to improve public awareness of sustainable development, and handing to local farmers some household's economic patterns.

Ecosystem services being assessed

Agricultural products, aquaculture products, processing products, construction materials, riverport and seaport activities, timber and non-timber forest products, ecotourism.

Key features of assessment

The assessment area represents a typical ecosystem in Vietnam as it has a very high level of biodiversity and is low-lying. This makes it very vulnerable to the Mekong River’s operating regime. The wetlands in lower Mekong basin in Vietnam are abundant and multiform, which plays an important role in terms of both ecology and socio-economics. In the 1990s, the Mekong Delta provided half of the entire nation’s rice gross output.

Timeframe, budget

Timeframe of the assessment is composed of two stages. Stage 1 from May 2003 to February 2004, and stage 2 from February to the end of 2004. Total cost will be US$ 130,000.