Outline of Research Project

"Establishment of the Integrated Forest Ecosystem Observation Sites and Network in the Lower Mekong" funded by the Ministry of Environment of Japan (2008-2011)

Decreases and deterioration of forests are ongoing in southeast Asia. The maintenance of biodiversity and ecosystems is difficult in many places, leading to serious social problems. Especially in northeastern Thailand, in the Lower Mekong basin, lowland evergreen forest has already disappeared. Thus, the Asian Development Bank has deemed the preservation of biodiversity in the lowland evergreen forests of Cambodia a priority. However, there are no baseline data on the forest ecosystems of Cambodia, due to the country’s historical background. Hence, it is crucial to examine this region, and to construct a robust system to provide a source of unified information on forest ecosystem observations.
We constructed a forest ecosystem observation site in the previously unstudied areas of the lower Mekong Basin. Based on data from this site, we elucidated the characteristics of the forest ecosystem and produced a dataset of forest environmental parameters. In addition, we applied advanced techniques such as satellite data analysis to quickly assess the land use changes over a wide area and to produce advanced information on this region. Moreover, we constructed a network of observation sites for long-term observations.
Summary of the results

Allied projects

  1. "Model development, simulation and assessment of the effects of human activities and natural change on the water resources in Mekong River basin (RR2002; 2002-2006)" funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Japan.
  2. "Assessment of the impact of Global-Scale change in water cycles on food production and alternative policy scenarios (2003-2007)" funded by Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Council Secretariat, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), Japan.
We conducted a study of the vegetation change analysis for the past 20 years by the remote sensing for whole Mekong basin, estimation of the water resources in Mekong basin, Indochina peninsula, and making clear the hydrological, environmental and vegetation changes in a lowland evergreen forest in Cambodia. We set up study sites including the forest climate observation tower with 60m height and carried out the data acquisition of various elements concerned with forest environment. We got much result for the evergreen forest basin such as the annual water budget, a root system characteristic in a deep soil layer and the estimation of the fluctuations of evapotranspiration with the simulation model, for example.

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