Across the Mekong Region, a great diversity of wetlands and the agro-ecological farming that they support are central to many rural communities’ livelihoods and culture, and contribute to local and national economies. Unfortunately, many areas have been degraded or lost as a consequence of large-scale infrastructure development, including for irrigation and hydroelectricity.

The purpose of this project is to build partnerships between local communities, government agencies, civil society groups, academics and others through joint participatory action research projects to contribute towards recovering wetland agro-ecological systems affected by past development projects.

Field Sites

  • The Rasi Salai and Hua Na Irrigation projects and wetlands areas in Sisaket Province, Northeastern region of Thailand
  • Floodplain floating rice-vegetable agro-ecological systems in Vinh Phuoc and Luong An Tra communes, Tri Ton district, An Giang province, Vietnam
  • In Xaybouly district of Savannakhet Province in several villages along the Xe Bang Fai River, where farmers would like to plant organic rice aiming towards higher market prices, safer production, and healthier final products

Research Questions

  • How are wetland agro-ecosystems valued through local and scientific knowledge by communities, local government agencies, academics, and other users, including in terms of bio-physical, economic, social, and cultural values?
  • How have the values of wetland agro-ecosystems changed as a result of development and recovery processes from the perspective of communities, local government agencies, academics, and other users?
  • How can collaboration between communities, civil society, academics, business, and government agencies be strengthened for wetland agro-ecological system restoration using local knowledge and scientific knowledge (in policy and impact on the ground)?

From a policy perspective, the project engages closely with local community, civil society, state, private sector and river basin organization actors, seeking to link local and scientific knowledge in participatory evidence-based decision-making. The research principally involves participatory action research amongst the boundary partners. The project commenced in October 2014, and will be completed in September 2016. The most recent blog updating on the project is available here.


The project has been developed as a partner of the Sustainable Mekong Research Network (SUMERNET). Visit our SUMERNET project page here. The project is financially supported by the Embassy of Sweden.