Socio-Economic and Environmental Changes in the Tonle Sap Lake and Its Impacts on the Livelihood of Local Communities

Event: The 11th Regional Conference on Environmental Engineering 2018 and the 3rd International Symposium on Conservation and Management of Tropical Lakes “Enhancing Sustainability and Resilience under Anthropogenic Pressure and Climate Change
Date: September 27th‐ 28th, 2018 (Phnom Phen, Cambodia)
Conference Proceeding

The Tonle Sap Lake (TSL) is among the most productive freshwater ecosystems, and one of the most fish- abundant lakes in the world. It is connected with the Mekong River by Tonle Sap River. The TSL absorbs a huge volume of water, which helps to reduce flooding in the Mekong River floodplains during the peak flooding season, then releases water into the Mekong River during the dry season, which supports to prevent salt intrusion into the Mekong delta. Local communities who live in or around the TSL are well adapted to the flow regime of the Mekong River and TSL. Meanwhile, local livelihoods are also deeply dependent on natural resources and services that the lake and its floodplains provide, including agriculture, trade and fishing, three most important livelihood sources. This study investigated impacts of recent environmental changes on the livelihoods of the fishing communities in and around the TSL. More specifically, the study intends: (i) to examine socio-economic and environmental changes occurred in and around the lake and its causes; (ii) to explore the impacts of these changes the livelihoods of fishing communities; (iii) to identify the strategies that could enhance the resilience of the local communities and reduce their vulnerability.