The Third Pole

Opinion: Floodplain wetlands of the Mekong – going, going, gone?

A rapid and irreversible change is taking place in the Lower Mekong basin. Floodplain grasslands and freshwater wetlands are being lost – bustling ecosystems that once supported thriving communities of large mammals and birds. These include the spectacular sarus crane; the greater adjutant, one of ...

Ding Li Yong, Khwankhao Sinhaseni

Lack of data on dam activity mars Mekong governance efforts

Last year, more data was shared about the Mekong than ever before. Yet despite the increased openness enabled by the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) mechanism, the Mekong River Commission (MRC), and various NGOs, the wet season was still marred by low rainfall levels and controversy over retention ...

Tyler Roney

Data exposes flaws in Mekong Delta resilience plans

For generations, Vietnamese communities have used the ample water resources and fertile soil of the Mekong Delta to feed the nation. Fuelled by the Mekong’s constant supply of rich sediment, the fisheries and paddy fields of Vietnam’s southernmost region have long been the bedrock of Vietnam’s ...

Nhin Tan Thuan

New dams on 3S rivers endanger survival of the Mekong

“It’s rare to see the birds these days, they’re gone. They lived off the fish, but most of the fish are gone too,” says Vuth Khat as he tours what used to be his village in the northeastern Cambodian province of Stung Treng and talks ...

Gerald Flynn, Phoung Vantha

Untold impact on northern Thailand’s wildlife from Mekong dams

About a year ago, the Boon Rueang Wetland Forest Conservation Group began a survey of wildlife in the 483-hectare community forest in northern Thailand. “We have recorded some leopards, otters and other animals,” says Songpol Chanruang, chair of the group. Though only around 130 kilometres long, ...

Tyler Roney, Piyaporn Wongruang

Is Cambodia’s thirst for sand putting communities and the Mekong at risk?

Sophea Soung has been farming on Boeung Tompoun, one of the few remaining lakes in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, since 2009. Every day, her family rises with the sun to float through verdant waters on a slender boat and harvest vegetables, which they then transport ...

Marta Kasztelan, Thomas Cristofoletti

Interview: Pou Sothirak on protecting the Mekong and powering Cambodia

Previously secretary of state at the Foreign Affairs Ministry for the Cambodian government, Pou Sothirak is executive director of the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace. He is a tireless campaigner for the ecology and communities of the Lower Mekong and particularly Tonle Sap, Southeast ...

Tyler Roney

Cambodian farmers can no longer rely on the Tonle Sap lake

“I’ve seen lower yields on my farm each year since maybe 2017 or 2018 – there just isn’t enough water,” says Yoeum Yoeut. Yoeut, 52, is a lifelong resident of the Baran district in Cambodia’s northwest Battambang province. Her livelihood has always depended on the natural flooding ...

Gerald Flynn, Phoung Vantha

Volatile Mekong threatens birds’ nest

Just 50 metres from the Mekong, in the shadow of a discarded plastic cup, a lone chick sits camouflaged on the sand. It is a newly hatched small pratincole in Bueng Kan province, northeast Thailand.  “I recorded 15 nests on the beach, smaller numbers compared with previous ...

Tyler Roney

New platform aims to reveal dam and climate impacts on the Mekong

A new monitoring platform that uses satellite imagery to track dam reservoir levels on the Mekong can shed light on the contentious issue of how the river’s precious water is stored, and the effects of climate change. The disruption to water and sediment flows along the ...

Chris Humphrey

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