Nguyen, Minh Tu: Drivers of change, adaptation and resilience of agricultural systems facing increased salinity intrusion in deltaic coastal areas of Vietnam. - Bonn, 2019. - Dissertation, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn.
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author = {{Minh Tu Nguyen}},
title = {Drivers of change, adaptation and resilience of agricultural systems facing increased salinity intrusion in deltaic coastal areas of Vietnam},
school = {Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn},
year = 2019,
month = feb,

note = {This PhD research aimed to examine historical and present drivers of agricultural changes in the Mekong (MKD) and Red River (RRD) deltas in Vietnam since 1975 as well as explore adaptation pathways and resilience of agricultural systems facing increased salinity intrusion in these deltas. The research ultimately used the lens of complex adaptive systems theory to examine interactions and feedbacks in agricultural systems and their drivers of change at multiple levels in deltaic social-ecological systems. In addition, this study applied an adaptation pathway approach to identify various adaptation options and potential lock-ins in agricultural systems and the subjective resilience assessment method to quantify the resilience of agricultural systems in these deltas. Currently, the RRD is protected from salinity intrusion by a concrete sea dyke and sluicegate system. In the MKD, salinity is naturally happening as it is a tide-dominated delta and there are fewer protective structures in place. Case study research was carried out in villages located along salinity gradients in the MKD, and at different distances to sea dykes in the RRD in Vietnam. Empirical data consisted of 27 in-depth interviews with officials of local and national authorities as well as 11 focus group discussions, 198 semi-structured interviews, 226 structured-interviews and 3 role-playing games conducted with farmers in both deltas in 2015-2016.
This study reveals that agricultural systems in the RRD and MKD since the end year of the war in 1975 have experienced considerable changes. The analysis of drivers of change and adaptation pathways shows 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 highest salinity levels in 90 years which were recorded in the MKD in 2015-2016, various adaptation options have been considered. These include adaptations that would lock-in agricultural production in particular agricultural systems or constrain changes in others, 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.
In addition, this study implemented a subjective resilience assessment method based on farmers' perception of the three resilience components i) the sensitivity of their agricultural systems to increased salinity intrusion, ii) the capacity to recover from salinity damage, and iii) the capacity to change to other systems if salinity increases in the future. Results from the subjective resilience assessment reveal that none of the agricultural systems received a higher score than the others when considering all three resilience components, implying that an increase in one resilience component by switching agricultural systems would negatively impact others. Improving resilience components (e.g. through policies and interventions, resource allocation and farming system changes) to sustain agricultural production or facilitate transformation to alternative systems when necessary is critically important for agricultural systems facing stress. For a methodological implication, this research emphasizes the need to complement subjective resilience assessment with qualitative data to enhance understandings of drivers of resilience in order to improve components of resilience for agricultural systems in the respective deltas.
In summary, attention should be drawn to interactions and feedbacks in future changes within and across adaptation pathways as well as trade-offs involved in farming system shifts regarding resilience components. Consideration of this could contribute to preventing further increases in salinity intrusion and lock-in effects in agricultural systems in the deltas.},

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