Interacting effects of land-use change, natural hazards and climate change on rice agriculture in Vietnam

Cập nhật vào ngày: 23 / 07 / 2021

Vietnam is a major rice producer and much of the rice grown is concentrated in the Red River Delta (RRD) and the Mekong River Delta (MRD). While the two mega-deltas are highly productive regions, they are vulnerable to natural hazards and the effects of human related environmental change. The natural hazards that affect Vietnam include typhoons, floods and droughts while the major anthropogenic developments happening in Vietnam include dike development, sand mining, dam construction and groundwater extraction. Outbreaks of pests and diseases are also common. Although there is a substantial volume of work investigating the environmental impacts of these natural hazards and anthropogenic interventions, few studies have examined the implications of these on food security. To show that the processes and issues affecting food security are reinforcing and interdependent, we used a systems thinking approach to represent the ways in which natural hazards, anthropogenic land-use and climate change affect rice production in the two mega-deltas. A key finding is that anthropogenic developments meant to improve agricultural productivity or increase economic development create many unwanted environmental consequences such as an increase in flooding, saltwater intrusion and land subsidence which in turn create other negative feedbacks on rice production and quality. In addition, natural hazards may amplify the problems created by human activities. In future, besides creating new environmental threats, climate change may exacerbate the effects of natural hazards by increasing the frequency and severity of natural disasters. Our meta-analysis highlights the ways in which a systems thinking approach can yield more nuanced perspectives to tackle complex and interrelated environmental challenges. Given that mega-deltas worldwide are globally significant for food production and are highly stressed and degraded landscapes, a systems thinking approach can be applied to provide a holistic and contextualized overview of the threats faced in each location.

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