The analysis is based on 27 in-depth interviews with officials of local and national authorities as well as 198 semi-structured interviews and 11 focus group discussions conducted with farmers along three salinity transects in both deltas in 2015-2016. The results show that a dynamic interplay and feedback of various drivers of change such as policy intervention, farmers’ desire for profit maximization, changing salinity conditions, and technological development at different levels of the deltaic social-ecological system have shaped the changes and adaptations in agricultural systems over the last decades. In response to increased salinity intrusion, as exemplified by the historic salinity levels recorded in the Mekong Delta in 2015–2016, various adaptation options have been considered. These include adaptations that would lock-in agricultural production in particular systems or constrain changes in others, which is potentially problematic in light of the high uncertainty related to future changes. The study recognizes the need to apply both incremental and transformative changes and select adaptation pathways which allow for continuous change or that are reversible in order to avoid lock-ins and address future challenges. Additionally, attention should be drawn to interactions and feedbacks in future changes within and across adaptation pathways in order to prevent further increases in salinity intrusion and lock-in effects in agricultural systems within the deltas.
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Topics: Agriculture and Food, COP25 List of UN Publications
Type of material: Other
Publication date: 2019