Land use change in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta: New evidence from remote sensing

Sci Total Environ. 2022 Mar 20;813:151918. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.151918. Epub 2021 Nov 24.


This paper presents the first attempt to capture a comprehensive spatial view of land use change in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta (VMD) for a long period, i.e., from 2000 to 2020. It is aimed at monitoring holistically the land use change and flooding situation in the region, addressing the reasons for land use change, and assessing the impacts of land use change on hydraulic aspects and farmer livelihoods during the last 21 years. MODIS products, in particular, are used to study the dynamics of land use and floods after demonstrating high validation with statistical data and radar satellites, with R2 = 0.96 and R2 ≥ 0.97 for land use and flood maps, respectively. The results show that rice cultivation is the most dominant land use type, accounting for 40% to 46% of the delta area, while aquaculture accounts for 10% to 22%, respectively. The total rice cultivation area increased from 3764 thousand hectares (thous. ha) in 2001 to 4343 thous. ha in 2015 based on the intensive development of triple rice cropping in the upper zone, then decreased to 3963 thous. ha in 2020. In contrast, aquaculture areas are farmed mainly in the coastal area and remained relatively steady, increasing slightly from 619 thous. ha in 2001 to 856 thous. ha in 2020. The massive construction of dikes for triple rice cropping in the upper zone appears to cause a significant impact on the annual flooding regime. Land use policies have influenced the changes in land use patterns, flooding situations, and the livelihoods of local farmers.

Keywords: Floods; Land use; MODIS satellite; Rice; Vietnamese Mekong Delta.

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture
  • Aquaculture
  • Farmers
  • Floods
  • Humans
  • Oryza*
  • Remote Sensing Technology*
  • Vietnam