General framework

The SEDES IJL framework is articulated around 4 main scientific themes corresponding to the selected services, to identify and quantify the effects of global and local changes on the Mekong Delta in the South East Asia area.


       Theme 1 (Provision services) aims at assessing the use of the coastal biodiversity by actors, from local to regional scales, for its conservation and sustainable sharing through the analysis of the beneficiaries of goods and services, and instruments for an equitable share. Theme 1 will be focused on the evaluation of the seafood availability among biodiversity and on selecting relevant indicators of its changes. It will implement a multi-indicators approach for an evaluation along a protected-exploited environmental gradient, considering a wide range of taxa, from micro- to macro-organisms (shellfish, prawns, crabs, fishes), and the functional aspect analyzed in addition to the classical taxonomic view. Indicators will be mixed at the community level related to the whole biodiversity and at the population level for sentinel species critical for the services. The biodiversity, together with the support services (Theme 2), will be particularly linked with the access and benefit sharing by the human populations, within the system of values or socio-cultural services. Theme 1 will link the results of biological studies using functional and taxonomic diversity, and also using sentinel species, together with those from social inquiries of the use of this biodiversity.

       Theme 2 (Support services) aims at better understanding the delta's ecosystem functioning using results on support services such as organic matter cycling, pollutants and sediment fluxes. Theme 2 also aims to explore policies conducted for the 30 last years for the Mekong conservation (protection, restoration, adding value) and analyze their ecological, socio-economical and socio-cultural relevance. The growing impact of megacities, such as Ho Chi Minh City, to the estuarine and coastal ecosystem will also be considered.

       Theme 3 (Regulation services) aims at following the evolution of the Mekong Delta using the results on landscape and its governance on a mid-term time scale by the different actors (politics, stakeholders). For example it will evaluate the evolution of the landscape using the results over the last 30 years of satellite images with high spatial resolution for texture analysis. The evolution of littoral shoreline will be followed by changes and recovery in surface elevation observation. Special attention will be paid on policies or managements which have led to the present landscapes in the South-East Asia area. The evolution of agricultural modes on head-water catchment (MSEC Consortium) and of the building of dams along the Mekong River and its tributaries will also be considered as key factors controlling water, sediment and pollutant cycles.

       Theme 4 (Policies & Scenarios) will be transverse and focused on governance at various time and space scales, including evaluation of maintenance and restoration policies, and their effects on economic, social, cultural and environmental dynamics. Theme 4 will also test indicators of the delta’s state at the different levels and evaluate the status of the services involved. It will also develop an analytical integrative and conceptual framework taking into account all goods and services associated and their perceptions, practices, coping strategies, and the dynamic interactions between services. At last one of the main objectives of SEDES is to give specific methodological framework in order to develop research or indicators of the state and dynamics of delta socio-ecosystems.


            The ambition of the SEDES IJL is clearly linked to the strong interaction between disciplines to give integrated methodologies and results on the delta evolution and management. One of the main results expected from SEDES could be for example the evaluation of the effect of reforestation on the restoration of environmental and socio-economic services with the ultimate aim to improve the management in different reserves. The multiple scientific fields covered by this approach, including biological sciences, social and environmental sciences, will be both an innovative strength, but also a challenge in ensuring the links between the different disciplines. Clear criteria for evaluating success, greater accessibility of information by managers in the developing world, intensified international cooperation, and application of relevant ecological and institutional theories will improve the success rate of restoration projects. Multiple criteria analysis of stressors and ecosystem services will also enhance restoration effectiveness. By using multi-disciplinary fields of research, integrating the results on a several years’ basis of studies in the area, testing multiple indicators of the state of the ecosystem and scenarios, SEDES will provide both innovative fundamental results and management tools for stakeholders. As an ecosystem service approach requires objectives that sustain or improve society’s long-term well-being, it is necessary to identify the main roles and functions that need to be conserved to deliver the services, and to provide advice for the ecosystem function. New indicators for measuring the ecosystem quality and pressure impact relationships in delta ecosystems will also be developed. The influences of the Mekong Delta and the Ho Chi Minh mega-City on estuarine and coastal waters could also be addressed by the IJL at a second step, depending on the researches conducted by the different teams involved. At last, the developments and results given by the SEDES IJL could be linked with those issued from other world's deltas, such as in others Indo-Asian countries (China, Bangladesh, India), in Africa (Congo, Kenya, Nile, Senegal, Tanzania), or in South America (Amazon, Orinoco…).