Is Ecosystem-Based Management Necessary for Adaptation to Sea Level Rise in Shrimp Growing Areas of the Mekong Delta?
Riccio, Ralph William
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Throughout history, society has relied on natural capital provided by the surrounding environment. The most successful societies have been those that have been able to adapt their practices in order to take advantage when changes occur in their environment. In the face of climate change, however, societies around the world are threatened by accelerated environmental change. Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) has been suggested as a way to increase the resilience of vulnerable communities to impacts of climate change, but may be difficult to implement because information on the connectivity between various parts of a system is frequently lacking. This is especially the case in developing countries. The Mekong Delta of Viet Nam is inhabited by 17.6 million people and is an economically valuable region, producing nearly $2.5 billion USD in shrimp per year for export. With an elevation at or below one meter, the area is particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts including specifically, sea level rise (SLR). The national government of Viet Nam is exploring both hard and soft solutions to protect this highly productive delta. Through this study I explore three case studies to determine the extent to which EBM is necessary to maintain adaptability in shrimp growing areas. From these case studies I conclude that, while there are a variety of initiatives under way that do not acknowledge all components of EBM, those that are most promising are adaptive in nature and can address future uncertainty by maintaining flexibility. However, while these solutions are likely to maintain a greater number of ecosystem services, they sacrifice short-term economic productivity. I discuss lessons learned, limitations of an EBM approach, and provide recommendations for large-scale adaptation to SLR through an integrated mangrove shrimp green belt in the Mekong Delta.
- Marine affairs