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Land Cover Changes Between 1968 and 2003 In Cai Nuoc, Ca Mau Peninsula, Vietnam

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Since 2000, the shrimp industry expands at a fast rate in the coastal areas of the Mekong Delta, Vietnam. Shrimp farming is known for its negative impact on the coastal environment. However, other human interventions like agriculture and urbanization also deteriorate the coastal environment. The land cover changes between 1968 and 2003 were determined and analyzed for the Cai Nuoc district, Ca Mau Province, Vietnam, using photos from 1968, 1992 (aerial photographs), 1997/98 (Spot) and 2003 (Landsat). It was clear that the district underwent serious land cover changes: deforestation between 1968 and 1992, with a simultaneous increase in rice land; a rapid decline in rice acreage from 1997 onwards, and, simultaneously, a blitz-increase in shrimp farming area. The forest area declined by 75% between 1968 and 2003. About 40% of this loss could be attributed to shrimp farming, while the remaining 60% was attributed to needs for agricultural land. Still, at present, shrimp farming is the major source of mangrove loss in the district. In 1999 shrimp farms covered 6.374 ha, in 2000 they covered 61.049 ha of the Cai Nuoc area. The swap from rice cultivation to shrimp farming was most-probably driven by households’ hopes for a higher income. It must be feared that the shrimp industry will have a negative impact on the environment (e.g. salinization) and on the livelihood of the district’s households. In 1968 saline water covered 219.9 km2, in 1992, 1997/98 and 2003 the saline surface water area covered 92.4, 135.2 and 835.0 km2, respectively.

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Correspondence to T. N. K. D. Binh.

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Binh, T.N.K.D., Vromant, N., Hung, N.T. et al. Land Cover Changes Between 1968 and 2003 In Cai Nuoc, Ca Mau Peninsula, Vietnam. Environ Dev Sustain 7, 519–536 (2005).

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