Monday 25 Jun 2018
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The Mekong

The Mekong River is with an estimated length of 4.350 km Southeast Asia’s longest river and the twelfth longest river in the world (Figure 1). The river basin includes with a total size of 795,000 km² a huge part of continental Southeast Asia, including territorial regions of six countries, i.e. China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The basin’s abun-dant natural resources have not only historically supported the livelihoods of more than 72 million people in the region but have also underpinned the rapid socio-economic development, which has occurred in Southeast Asia over the past decades. From an ecological perspective, the basin lies within one of the world’s top nine biodiversity hotspots for conservation priori-ties, containing endemic species amounting to 30% and 25% of the global totals for plant and vertebrate species, respectively (Myers et al., 2000). With more than 1300 fish species (of these > 800 migrating species) the Mekong region is also one of the world’s fish biodiversity hotspots (Lamberts, 2008).



Major challenges in the Mekong Basin

  • Emerging hydropower sector and related environmental transboundary consequences
  • Ongoing economic development in the region
  • Increasing conflicts between socio-economic development and the need for environmental protection

Key issues of the Mekong Basin

  • Increasing shortage of sediment load and water budget of the Mekong main stem and impacts on Mekong Delta
  • Threat of negative effects on fish population and decrease of fish catch for local population depending on the Mekong
  • Deforestation and degradation of the forest environments in the Mekong Basin
  • Threat of soil degradation from agricultural intensification


Overview maps of the project area.

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