Three Videos of Fenner Academics Working on the Mekong River Delta in Vietnam

Friday 18 March 2016

This research is part of “Navigating the nexus of biodiversity, food, hydropower & water for conservation & sustainable development in the Mekong Basin” project, funded by Luc Hoffmann Institute & ANU.

Mekong River development
Harnessing the Mekong River - Image National Geographic

Three videos made by Fenner academic staff relating to projects on the Mekong River.

Associate Prof. Jamie Pittock, Fenner School, ANU, interviewed by David Dumaresq

WHO: Associate Prof. Jamie Pittock, Fenner School, ANU

WHAT: Dr Pittock discusses how upstream development of hydropower dams in the Mekong River basin has unanticipated and negative impacts on downstream food production, for example, by diminishing wild fish catch. In this case, poor people who relied on catching fish are particularly impacted.  Our research on this ‘nexus’ between energy, water and food shows why governments need to better weigh up the costs and benefits of proposed developments to avoid having negative impacts that cannot be adequately managed. 

WHEN: October 2015

WHERE: An Giang Province, Mekong River delta, Viet Nam

WHY: Field research as part of the “Navigating the nexus of biodiversity, food, hydropower and water for conservation and sustainable development in the Mekong Basin” project, funded by the Luc Hoffmann Institute and The Australian National University.

Mr David Dumaresq, Fenner School, ANU, interviewed by Jamie Pittock

WHO: Mr David Dumaresq, Fenner School, ANU

WHAT: Mr Dumaresq explains that to secure adequate food for people that it is necessary to supply both calories (energy) as well as proteins and other nutrients. In the case of the Mekong River basin, the reduction in the wild fish catch and growing wealth are driving people in countries like Viet Nam to eat more beef, pork and chickens grown in feedlots. Our research shows that the feeds required to grow these animals are increasingly being imported from as far afield as Argentina and Brazil. Thus developing a hydropower dam can have unexpected knock-on effects in killing of fish populations and increasing demand for livestock feeds grown in areas deforested half a world away. 

WHEN: October 2015

WHERE: An Giang Province, Mekong River delta, Viet Nam

WHY: Field research as part of the “Navigating the nexus of biodiversity, food, hydropower and water for conservation and sustainable development in the Mekong Basin” project, funded by the Luc Hoffmann Institute and The Australian National University.

Dr Kien van Nguyen, Fenner School ANU and An Giang University, interviewed by Jamie Pittock

WHO: Dr Kien van Nguyen, Fenner School ANU and An Giang University

WHAT: Dr Van Nguyen explains how the increasingly unpredictable flood regime in the Mekong River delta has driven farmers to construct increasing larger dykes to protect their rice crops from untimely inundation. This has further reduced wild fish populations, increasing the cost of food for the poor. Cessation of flooding has also reduced the fertility of the rice fields and increased the use of fertilisers and pesticides, diminishing water quality. Our research is exploring how conservation of traditional, remaining ‘floating rice’ fields may maintain and more profitable and nutritious food supply of high quality rice plus aquatic plants and animals.

WHEN: October 2015

WHERE: An Giang Province, Mekong River delta, Viet Nam

WHY: Field research as part of the “Navigating the nexus of biodiversity, food, hydropower and water for conservation and sustainable development in the Mekong Basin” project, funded by the Luc Hoffmann Institute and The Australian National University.

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