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Title: Adaptation and development trade-offs: fluvial sediment deposition and the sustainability of rice-cropping in An Giang Province, Mekong Delta
Authors: Chapman, Alexander D.
Văn, Phạm Đăng Trí
Hồng, Minh Hoàng
Darby, Stephen E.
Tompkins, Emma L.
Keywords: Adaptation
Mekong Delta
Issue Date: 2016
Series/Report no.: Climatic Change;137 .- p.593–608
Abstract: Deltas around the globe are facing a multitude of intensifying environmental change and development-linked pressures. One key concern is the reduction in the quantity of suspended sediment reaching and building floodplains. Sediment deposition provides multiple services to deltaic social-ecological systems, in particular, countering the subsidence of the delta-body, and providing plentiful nutrients. Experiencing particularly rapid change is the Vietnamese Mekong Delta (VMD). In An Giang Province an increasing number of high dyke rings, which exclude the flood and facilitate triple rice-cropping, simultaneously prevent much of the sediment load from reaching the floodplain. This paper explores the trade-offs implicit in the decision to shift from (i) doublecropping (higher sediment deposition) to (ii) triple cropping (lower sediment deposition) by asking: what is the impact of the shift on VMD farmers? Is it sustainable? And what is the significance of the associated sediment exclusion? A novel survey of An Giang rice farmers was conducted, investigating key agricultural practices, and uniquely, the farmers’ estimates of annual sediment deposition depth. The survey elicits some key changes under the adapted system (ii), particularly, unsustainable trajectories in the yield to fertiliser ratio which penalise land-poor farmers. Furthermore, the value (to farmers) of the sediment contribution to agricultural fertilisation which is lost due to triple-cropping is estimated at USD 15 (±5) million annually. We argue that our growing understanding of the importance of sediment in the deltaic social-ecological system may be revealing an emergent risk; arising from conflicting long and short-term adaptation and agricultural development objectives.
URI: http://localhost:8080//jspui/handle/123456789/5112
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