DeltAdapt is a bilateral German-Vietnamese research project. The main goal of this multi-disciplinary research project is to explore the drivers and consequences of socio-ecological changes in the coastal areas of the Mekong and Red River deltas in the context of increasing salinization of water and soil resources. The vulnerability of the agroecosystems in these deltas ─ similarly to most deltas worldwide ─ and their related services is increasing by climate change-related hazards (e.g., sea-level rise, saltwater intrusion) as well as rapid socio-economic developments and transformations (e.g., human-induced changes in the deltas such as flood controls and changes in water and sediment dynamic or climate/social driven shifts in land use).
In DeltAdapt the Mekong and Red River deltas will serve as examples of such fertile but highly vulnerable regions, where the production of rice, vegetables, and aquaculture products are crucial for the livelihood of local farmers. As a combined result of sea-level rise and changes in river discharge, the salinity intrusion from the South China Sea and the Gulf of Thailand increases as well, particularly during the low flow season. For this reason, rice production is more and more threatened by salinity intrusion imperiling the livelihood of local farmers. Therefore, more and more farmers try to adapt to such changing environmental and economic conditions by shifting from only rice-based land-use systems to extensive brackish water polycultures (rice-shrimp farms) or even intensive saline (commercial/family shrimp farming) aquaculture. However, such shift in land-use systems can be risky and are not realizable by all farmers. Therefore, some farmers maintain rice production but sell their fertile topsoil to extract the clay for brick production in order to generate short-term income and thus risking long term productivity losses of their soils.
In DeltAdapt about 20 scientists from both countries will explore the current and historical land-use pattern, socio-ecological drivers of land-use changes, their feedback on climate, soil fertility, and evaluate the sustainability of the adaptation and adaptability of the coastal agroecosystems in both deltas to salinity intrusion and market challenges. Since both the research approach and the implementation of the results are based on the dual involvement of German and Vietnamese scientists as well as local stakeholders and German and Vietnamese small and medium enterprises, high relevance and practice-orientation of the research are ensured.
The overall goal of DeltAdapt is to advance ecologically- and economically-based decision-making processes towards a more sustainable and resilient agroecosystems management in both deltas by providing practice-oriented recommendations. This will enable the sustainable shaping of agricultural landscapes in both deltas as well as similar coastal agro-ecosystems. It thereby helps in securing global nutrition and producing safe and healthy products.

Coordination (GER)

Prof. Dr. Wulf Amelung
University of Bonn
Division Soil Science Institute of Crop Science and Resource Conservation (INRES)
Karlrobert-Kreiten-Straße 13
D-53115 Bonn/Germany
+49 (0)228 73 60 248

Coordination (VN)

Prof. Dr. Võ Thị Gương
Cần Thơ University
College of Agriculture & Applied biology
Area II, Road 3-2, Xuân Khánh,
Ninh Kiều, Cần Thơ
+84 918494775

Project partner (GER)

  • University of Bonn, Institute of Crop Science and Resource Conservation, Dep. of Soil Science
  • United Nations University, Institute for Environment and Human Security (EHS)
  • Researchcenter Jülich GmbH, Institute of Bio- and Geo-Sciences
  • Helmholtz Centre for Environmental research – UFZ, Leipzig
  • TerrAquat Consultants

Project partner (VN)

  • Can Tho University, College of Agriculture & Applied biology
  • Hanoi University of Agriculture
  • Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Thanh Phu, An Minh Districts
  • Department of Natural Resources and Environment Ca Mau and An Giang provinces
  • Ecology Farming Corporation