Mangroves in the Mekong Delta: growing opportunities or going under?

The Mekong Delta is home to the largest expanse of mangroves in Viet Nam but is also highly vulnerable to the twin effects of the climate crisis and coastal development, given its proximity to Ho Chi Minh City.

The Delta is facing a high risk of much of its area being inundated from rises in sea level. If the level was to rise by 100 cm, nearly 40% of the Delta would be submerged, with around 10% of its population affected by loss of land, intrusion of salt water, droughts, a substantial decrease in the area available for cultivating rice, reduced biodiversity and forests with changes to low-lying ecosystems in and along rivers, and reduced supply of fresh water and water quality, leading to a reduction in GDP of 10%.

Mangroves not only play important roles in mitigating, and adapting to, the climate crisis but also provide natural, social, human, financial and physical capital for local livelihoods. However, mangroves in the Delta are facing significant pressures from multiple drivers, such as aquaculture, weak enforcement of policies, lack of financial incentives, urbanisation and poor site selection.

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