On 24th to 27th September IUCN conducted field investigations at the Xe Champhone Ramsar wetlands in Champhone District, Savannakhet Province. The aim of the investigations was to assess priorities to improve watershed management through landscape restoration approaches.
The landscape of the Xe Champhone Ramsar site has been severely modified due to expansion and encroachment of agricultural land around the wetlands. Increasing rice cultivation on wetland edges has led to a loss of native vegetation and wildlife habitat. Loss of forest, particularly in riparian areas of the Xe Champhone River, has led to increasing issues of run-off, erosion and sedimentation. Salinity is also a concern that is affecting local livelihoods, through impacts on groundwater quality and crop success. These issues are expected to be further exacerbated under climate change and the projected increases in flooding and extreme weather events.
As part of the Climate Adaptation in Wetland Areas (CAWA) project IUCN and project partners held meetings with relevant stakeholders, consulted with villagers living around the wetlands and selected sites to start the reforestation activities in order to tackle problems caused by deforestation, and support mitigation of climate related impacts.
Moving forward IUCN will support local communities and government to carry out the reforestation activities, and continue to raise awareness on the importance of maintaining forest and wetland habitats and the critical ecosystem services they provide.