The Grey Literature Review on
Assessment of Vulnerability and Dependence on
Thai National Mekong Committee
The Grey Literature Review on
Assessment of Vulnerability and Dependence on
National Expert Report
Thai National Mekong Committee (TNMC)
Mekong River Commission Secretariat (MRCS)
The author would like to thank Dr.Wijarn Simachaya (ENV Director), Mr. Lilao Bouapao
(Senior Social Science Specialist), Mr. Hans Guttman (EP Coordinator) and Dr.Karlyn
Eckman (International Consultant) for their support and conceptual guidance throughout
The author would also like to express his gratitude to Ms. Pakawan Chufamanee,
Director of Mekong Affairs Division, Department of Water Resources and Thai National
Mekong Committee Environmental Program Coordinator and her staff for all the
assistance and support they have extended throughout the study.
Relevant information and advices have been very helpful in making this study and these
were made possible through the assistance and support of Mr. Naoki Minamiguchi,
Vulnerability Analysis Coordinator of the FIVIMS Trust Fund Project
GCP/RAS/170/JPN), FAO Country Program Office, and Ms. Supriya Prabhu Mehta and
Ms. Hnin Nwe Win, Project Mangers and personnel of Asian Disaster Preparedness
Center (ADPC) Office in AIT.
Important reference materials have been gathered because of the assistance and support of
UNDP, Thailand Office through Ms. Revathi Balakrishnan (PhD), Regional Senior
Officer for Gender and Development and Mr. Simon Funge-Smith of the Freshwater
Aquaculture and Fisheries Department, both from FAO Regional Office for Asia and the
Pacific, Bangkok, Thailand; Dr. Chris Barlow, Program Manager, Fisheries Program,
Mekong River Commission; AIT Library, Kasetsart University Library, Thammasart
University Library, National Inland Fishery Institute (NIFI) Library and National
Statistical Office (NSO) Library.
Various websites have also been browsed and studied that provided useful papers relevant
to the study.
This report presents the result of the review of grey literature on vulnerability assessment
and dependence on aquatic resources, which was conducted during the period June to
August 2005 for the Lower Mekong Basin of Thailand.
The study emphasized on human vulnerability to the changes in aquatic ecosystem with a
focus on food security and people’s livelihood due to such changes. The general purpose
of the study was to examine data and information such as assessment methods and
indicators that have been used in Thailand, particularly in the Lower Mekong Basin
(LMB) within the Thai territory. Furthermore, data availability, gaps in information and
issues were explored during the study.
Nearly two hundred papers, journals, theses, unpublished reviews and published reports
related to the LMB in Thailand were primarily examined. Sixty-two out of two hundred
papers were reviewed critically. Secondary data were collected from various sources that
included international organizations, national organizations, and university libraries as
well as from personal contacts in order to come up with this number of documents.
The gathered data is presented in 6 parts; (1) Introduction, (2) Background Information,
(3) Dependence of people on aquatic resources, (4) Threats and risks to people, people’s
livelihoods, food security and aquatic resources, (5) Vulnerability of people, and (6)
Conclusion and recommendation.
ADB Asian Development Bank
ADPC Asian Disaster Preparedness Center
CCA Common Country Assessment
CIEE Council on International Educational Exchange
CPUE Capture Per Unit of Effort
DES Dietary Energy Supply
DO Dissolved Oxygen
DOF Department of Fisheries
EIA Environmental Impact Assessment
ELES Extended Linear-Expenditure System
FAO Food and Agriculture Organization
FGLS Feasible Generalized Least Square
FIVIMS Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping System
F/C Forage to Carnivorous Species Ratio
GDP Gross Domestic Product
GIS Geographic Information System
GPS Global Positioning System
HIV/AIDS Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency
ICESCR International Covenant of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights
IFAD International Fund for Agricultural Development
Interim CCI Interim Committee for Coordination of Investigations
JBIC Japan Bank for International Cooperation
LMB Lower Mekong Basin
MDGs Millennium Development Goals
MRC Mekong River Commission
NACA Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific
NESDB National Economic and Social Development Board
NSO National Statistical Office
PRA Participatory Rural Appraisal
RRA Rapid Rural Appraisal
RS Remote Sensing
RTG Royal Thai Government
TEI Thailand Environment Institute
TISTR Thailand Institute of Science and Technological Research
ToaD Thailand on a Disc
TWIF Thai Women in Fisheries Network
UNRC United Nations Resident Coordinator
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title Page No.
Title page i
Table of Contents v
List of Tables vii
List of Figures vii
1. Introduction 1
2. Background Information 5
2.1 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Poverty in 5
2.2 People in the LMB of Thailand 6
2.2.1 Characteristics of people in LMB of Thailand 6
2.2.1 Poverty 7
2.3 Aquatic Resources 10
2.3.1 Water bodies, Spawning areas, Floodplains, and 10
2.3.2 Aquatic organisms 11
2.3.3 Land use and soils 13
3. Dependence of people on aquatic resources 14
3.1 Types of dependence on aquatic resources 14
3.1.1 People and their livelihoods dependence on aquatic 14
3.1.2 Food security (or insecurity) 17
3.2 Spatial/ Season/Time 20
3.3 Assessment Methods Reviewed 21
3.4 Indicators 23
3.5 Data Availability 24
3.6 Gaps in Information 24
3.7 Issues 26
3.8 Conclusions for dependence of people on aquatic resources 27
4. Threats and risks to people, people’s livelihoods, food security and 28
4.1 Types of threats 28
4.1.1 Threats and risks to people and their livelihoods 28
4.1.2 Threats and risks to food security (or food insecurity) 30
4.1.3 Threats and risks to aquatic resources 31
4.2 Spatial / Season/ Time 33
4.3 Assessment Methods Reviewed 35
4.4 Indicators 35
4.5 Data Availability 36
TABLE OF CONTENTS (Cont.)
Title Page No.
4.6 Gaps in Information 36
4.7 Issues 37
4.8 Conclusions for this section 37
5. Vulnerability of people 38
5.1 Type of Vulnerability 38
5.1.1 Food insecurity and malnutrition 38
5.1.2 Livelihood vulnerability 38
5.1.3 Biophysical vulnerability 38
5.2 Spatial / Season/ Time 38
5.3 Assessment Methods Reviewed 39
5.3.1 Food insecurity and malnutrition 39
5.3.2 Livelihood vulnerability 41
5.3.3 Biophysical vulnerability 42
5.3.4 Methods and Tools for data collection and analysis 43
5.4 Indicators 44
5.4.1 Food insecurity and malnutrition 44
5.4.2 Livelihood vulnerability 44
5.4.3 Biophysical vulnerability 44
5.5 Data Availability 45
5.6 Gaps in Information 45
5.7 Issues 46
5.8 Conclusions for this section 47
5.9 Specific Summary for Proposed vulnerability study 47
6. Conclusion and recommendation 48
6.1 Conclusion 48
6.2 Cross-cutting analysis 49
6.2.1 Methodologies 49
6.2.2 Indicators 49
6.3 Gap analysis 50
6.4 Recommendations 50
LIST OF TABLES
Table Title Page No.
1. Thailand’s MDG and MDG Plus: Poverty, hunger, and Safe 6
drinking water and sanitation, their targets and indicators
2. Poverty line, Head Count Index, Number of Poor, Poverty Gap 7
Index and Severity of Poverty: 1992 – 2004
3. Head Count Index, Average Monthly Income and Expenditure Per 8
Household and Per Capita by Region: 2004 (Jan – Jun)
4. Information about major river basin in Northeast Thailand (1998 10
5 The water of the reservoirs in Northeast Thailand as of 1st January 11
in 1998 and 2002 (unit: Million Cubic Meters)
6 Food and nutrition current status and trend in the future 31
7 Comparison of methodologies for assessing people and livelihood 60
dependence on aquatic resources
8 Comparison of methodologies for assessing threats to people, 61
livelihoods and aquatic resources
9 Comparison of methodologies for assessing vulnerability 62
10 Gaps in information about dependence identified during grey 65
literature review: Thailand
11 Gaps in information about threats identified during grey literature 67
12 Gaps in information about vulnerabilities identified during grey 68
literature review: Thailand
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure Title Page No.
1. Internal and external factors of “Vulnerability to Food insecurity” 3
2. Food security continuum classifies people according to their 4
current status (FAO, 2002)
3. Duration and extent of major floods of Thailand (in the circle) 34
4 Vulnerability Mapping of Provinces (FIVIMS, 2004) 69
5 The Most Vulnerable Group of Provinces (Class 6) (FIVIMS, 70
6 The Most Vulnerable Group of Provinces (Class 1) (FIVIMS, 71
FINAL REPORT ON
THE GREY LITERATURE REVIEW ON ASSESSMENT OF
VULNERABILITY AND DEPENDENCE ON AQUATIC RESOURCES
Somsak Boromthanarat/ Thailand
The Lower Mekong Basin that falls within the Thai territory is located in the Northeastern
part of the country, some parts in the Northern regions (Phayao, Chiang Rai, and Chiang
Mai Provinces), and some parts in Eastern region (some parts in Sa Kaeo and Chantaburi
Provinces). About 55 million people live in the Lower Mekong Basin. Among the four
riparian countries located in the basin, Thailand is the most populous area with 23 million
people, which is approximately 42 % of the total population of the basin and about 37 %
of the country population (NSO, 2002 cited in MRC, 2003). From the population census
in 2000, the density of population on the Korat Plateau, Thailand, was 75–175
persons/km2. This moderately high population density was due to the flat terrain served
by an extensive transport infrastructure. Twenty percentages of people in the north and
some provinces in the northeast fall within the poverty levels while other provinces have
rates up to 50% of the population living below consumption-based poverty line (Hook, et
People in the basin are engaged in the collection of various types of aquatic resources
especially aquatic organisms and vegetations. The water of the Mekong River itself and
riparian land are also used for agricultural activities, especially rice farming. Generally,
aquatic resources in the Lower Mekong Basin have significant importance in terms of
economic, food supply, food nutrition, fish consumption, livelihood, agriculture and
fisheries. In Northeast Thailand, total freshwater fish production is 795,000 tons and
annual fish consumption is approximately 35 kg per person per year (MRC Secretariat
Phnom Penh, 2002). This may mean that any change in aquatic ecosystems will affect
people’s livelihood in the area.
Under the 1995 Agreement of the four riparian countries including Thailand to cooperate
in all fields of sustainable development, a long-term MRC environmental program related
to Article 3 and 7 was approved by the MRC Council in the second half of 2000, with a
revision made in 2003. Six objectives were set by the environmental program. To achieve
objectives 4, 5 and 61, an assessment of vulnerability and dependence on aquatic
ecosystems is one of the activities contributing to the success of these objectives.
Objective 4 - To ensure that social, economic and ecological concerns are incorporated in basin-wide
environmental policies and regulations (in line with Article 3 of the 1995 Agreement)
Objective 5 - To improve awareness and capacity of MRC and riparian government personnel to address
transboundary and basin-wide environmental issues
Objective 6- To ensure that development initiatives are planned and implemented with a view to
minimize negative environmental impacts in the Mekong River Basin.
The grey literature review on “assessment of vulnerability and dependence on aquatic
resources” focused on food security and food insecurity, threats to livelihoods and
dependence on aquatic resources of poor Thai people living in the Lower Mekong Basin.
The report presented about who and where the food insecure are in Thailand, especially in
the Lower Mekong Basin. The report indicated types of dependencies that people have on
aquatic resources and specific dependencies that are noted in the literature including
livelihood. It included the discussion about threats to people’s food security and
livelihood. The paper also provided the details about methodologies described in the
literature reviewed to assess people’s dependence, livelihoods, food security and
insecurity situation and related issues. Methodologies that can identify people who are
food insecure and where they are located were included. Furthermore, the gaps existing in
the scope of the studies reviewed have been identified in order to guide the focus of future
research of the MRC’s Vulnerability Assessment in the Lower Mekong Basin specifically
in Thailand. Finally, the report proposed some recommendations focusing on how MRC
can organize and carry out a vulnerability assessment in the LMB in Thailand. Generally,
this review focused more on the condition of people in the LMB, and less on the
biophysical dimensions like drought, flood, and other disaster.
One of the posters produced by the FIVIMS has illustrated the understanding of food
insecurity and vulnerability (FAO, 2002). The difference of vulnerable and food insecure
people was mentioned.” Vulnerable people have a high probability of becoming food
insecure at any time while food insecure people are vulnerable people who can no longer
meet their minimum food needs”. Two main concepts about food insecurity and
vulnerability have been included.
The first concept was shown in Figure 1, presenting the internal and external factors that
can come together in many ways to create risk. A combination of internal factors arising
from intra-household dynamics and social customs and beliefs and external factors
resulting from conditions and trends in the economic, physical, political and social
environment can undermine the ability of people to deal with these risks (FAO, 2002).
The second concept was illustrated in Figure 2, showing the food security continuum that
classifies people according to their status. At any moment in time, an individual can be;
(1) Food secure (adequate food intake, low risk of food insecurity), (2) Vulnerable
(adequate food intake, high risk of food insecurity), or (3) Food insecure (inadequate food
intake, high risk of worsening food insecurity). It is necessary to identify and characterize
the insecure people to be able to design and implement actions to improve food insecurity
situation and reduce number of food insecure people. However, more often, the factors
that make people food insecure are the same factors that make them vulnerable to food
insecurity. Therefore, in order to find out who the food insecure are, there is a need to
first find out who the vulnerable are, and what is causing their vulnerability (FAO, 2002).
Figure 1: Internal and external factors of “Vulnerability to Food insecurity” (FAO, 2002)
Figure 2: Food security continuum classifies people according to their current status
2. BACKGROUND INFORMATION
In history, Thailand was well known for “more fish in the water and more rice in the
field”. However, at present, this situation has changed to “good food and good life”. This
means that agriculture and food structure have changed over time. Sustainable food
supply must play an important role in food availability and quality of life for the country.
The main problems of agriculture sector are reduction of farming lands, soil infertility,
low supply of water and drought that affect the farmer’s income. To overcome such
problems, the combined efforts of all people, government, development agencies, and
development planning are required (Varanyanond, 2000).
An integrated farming system for reinforcing food security was proposed by His Majesty,
the King of Thailand and being planned by the Thai Government for implementation in
the country. His Majesty opined that in the future, small-scale farmers should apportion
their land on a 30-30-30-10 basis with a view to being self-sustaining. The land should be
allocated for water tank or pond (30%), for rice farming (30%), for vegetables, fruit trees,
livestock and poultry (30%), and for homestead (10%). The importance of water security
in rural areas and decentralized water management was emphasized as the key to food
security for the rural people (Menasveta, 2000).
2.1 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Poverty in Thailand
“World leaders at the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000 agreed on a
set of time-bound and measurable goals for combating poverty, hunger, illiteracy, disease,
discrimination against women and environmental degradation. Embodied in the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is the spirit and principle of shared
responsibility between advanced economies and developing countries, civil society
organizations, the United Nations and other international development agencies”
(NESDB and UNRC, 2004).
The Thai Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) consisting of 8 ambitious goals to be
achieved by 2015 are drawn directly from the Millennium Declaration. The eight goals
contain 18 targets that are monitored through 48 indicators (NESDB and UNRC, 2004).
Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger,
Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education,
Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women,
Goal 4: Reduce child mortality,
Goal 5: Improve maternal health,
Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases,
Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability, and
Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development.
Thailand has introduced the concept of “MDG Plus”, a set of tailor-made and ambitious
development targets going well beyond the international MDG targets. To overcome the
problems of poverty, hunger and drinking water and sanitation, Thailand’s MDGs and
MDGs Plus targets and indicators are summarized in Table 1.
Table 1: Thailand’s MDG and MDG Plus: Poverty, hunger, and Safe drinking water and
sanitation, their targets and indicators
Goal Target Indicators
Poverty MDG Halve the proportion of - Proportion of population below
people living in national poverty line,
extreme poverty - Poverty gap ration,
between 1990 and 2015 - Share of poorest quintile in
individual household income
MDG+ Reduce poverty to less - Proportion of population below
than 4 percent by 2009 poverty line in the northeast and
- Poverty severity
Hunger MDG Halve the proportion of - Prevalence of underweight children
people who suffer from (under five years of age),
hunger between 1990 - Proportion of population below
and 2015 minimum level of dietary energy
MDG+ - Prevalence of underweight highland
- Prevalence of micro-nutrient
deficiency (iodine, iron and vitamin
A) among school-aged children,
- Proportion of population aged older
than 20 years of age below
minimum level of dietary energy
Safe MDG Halve by 2015 the - Proportion of urban and rural
drinking proportion of people population with sustainable access
water and without sustainable to an improved water source
sanitation access to safe drinking - Proportion of urban and rural
water and basic population with access to improved
Source: NESDB and UNRC, 2004
2.3 People in the LMB of Thailand
2.3.1 Characteristics of people in LMB of Thailand
Some characteristics of Thai people living in the basin have been reviewed in the “State
of Basin Report 2003”. Almost 55 million people live in the Lower Mekong Basin.
Among the four riparian countries located in the basin, Thailand has the most populous
area with 23 million people, which is approximately 42.2 percent of the total population
of the basin and about 37.5 percent of the national population. Ethnic diversity in
Thailand is less than other Lower Mekong Basin’s country. Hill tribes constitute only 6
percent of the national population and are located originally in the north Thailand. The
ratio of men to women in Thailand is becoming more equal. Fertility rate dropped to the
level of 1.7 children per family. The average household size is 4.1 (MRC, 2003).
Poverty is a complex and multidimensional concept. There are many factors and
situations to consider. The following are some key facts on Thailand in 2002 (NESDB
cited in NESDB and UNRC, 2004).
5.4 million people (or 86% of the total poor) live in rural areas
Three fifths of the poor live in the Northeast
70% of the poor households are farmers or rural laborers
60% of the poor farm households work on their own land; 12% work on
rented farms; 27% are landless; two thirds of poor farm households own less
than 5 rai. (1 rai is approximately 0.16 ha)
The poor people have average of four years of schooling
89% of poor households have large families – more than the average of four
persons per household
36% of the poor are children, and 11% are the elderly
Some definitions of key poverty indicators are described in the “Core Economic
Indicators of Thailand 2005” as follows:
Poverty line is conceptualized as a minimum standard required by an individual
to fulfill his or her basic food and non-food needs and unit in baht/person/month.
Head Count Index is people who have income below the poverty line or people
who have not enough income for food and non-food basic needs.
Poverty line, Head Count Index, Number of Poor, Poverty Gap Index and Severity of
Poverty: 1992 – 2004 are shown in Table 2. The incidence of poverty dropped from
32.5% in 1992 to 12.0% in 2004 and the number of poor dropped from 18.1 million in
1992 to 6.0 million in 2004 (National Statistical Office, 2005).
Table 2: Poverty line, Head Count Index, Number of Poor, Poverty Gap Index and
Severity of Poverty: 1992 – 2004
Year Poverty line No. of Poor Head Poverty Severity
(Baht/Person/Month) (M. of Count Gap Poverty
Persons) Index (%) Index (%) (%)
1992 790 18.1 32.5 10.2 4.5
1994 838 14.2 25.0 7.3 3.0
1996 953 9.8 17.0 4.6 1.8
1998 1,130 11.0 18.8 5.1 2.0
2000 1,135 12.8 21.3 6.1 2.5
2002 1,190 9.5 15.5 4.1 1.6
2004 1,230 6.0 12.0 2.9 1.0
(Jan – Jun)
Source: Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board, Office of the
Prime Minister and National Statistics Office (National Statistical Office, 2005)
In Northern and Northeast, 18.5% and 17.9% of people have income below the poverty
line (1,230 Baht/Person/Month). People in Northeast Thailand have the lowest average
monthly income as well as average monthly expenditure (Table 3) (National Statistical
Table 3: Head Count Index, Average Monthly Income and Expenditure Per Household
and Per Capita by Region: 2004 (Jan – Jun)
Region Head Average Monthly Average Monthly
Count Income (Baht) Expenditure (Baht)
Index (%) Per HH Per Capita Per HH Per Capita
Greater Bangkok* 1.2 26,351 8,888.8 20,547 5,991.6
Central 5.3 16,513 5,153.8 13,220 3,738.5
North 18.5 10,897 3,401.0 9,484 2,636.6
Northeast 17.9 9,916 2,686.7 8,493 2,107.4
South 8.3 14,319 4,027.5 12,807 3,255.8
* Bangkok, Nontaburi, Pathumthani, and Samutprakarn
Source: Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board, Office of the
Prime Minister and National Statistics Office (National Statistical Office, 2005)
The LMB region of Thailand is the leading region of poor and economically backward
The database of UN Thailand showed that the northeast region is the poorest area with
lowest monthly household income. In the Northeast, population below the poverty line
increased from 19% (1996) to 23% (1998) in post economic crisis era, whereas around
14% people are under poverty line in Thailand for the fiscal year 2004. There is
considerable decrease in poverty level which was possible due to growth in the
agricultural sector coupled with favorable government policies. There is general belief
that agriculture production decreased due to expansion of urban and industrial
developments, i.e. expansion of cities (like Bangkok) which replaced good quality rice
lands with urban areas.
Food insecurity mainly appears as an issue for the poor people mostly staying in the north
and northeast of Thailand. The major cause of poverty is income inequality between the
individuals. The gap between rural and urban areas also catalyzed the income inequality.
The economic crisis has not demonstrated any severe effect on the food security status of
Thai population, which is partly due to the “food safety net” established in Thailand
through the long term efforts of the Royal Family, the government and non governmental
organizations (NGOs). The economic crisis, however, is likely to have far reaching
implications on nutritional status in certain areas of population groups, for which there is
need to monitor carefully, the specific consequences of unemployment among them
(Tontisirin and Bhattacharjee, 2000)
The income elasticity of households on food in rural areas is higher than in urban areas.
Higher income families generally spent more on meat, fish and dairy products and other
nutritious food stuff and less on starchy staples in Thailand (Sirikasamsap, 1991).
The poverty index study on the basis of households produced interesting outputs as
follows (Suwee, 2004):
Households with more members tended to be poorer than households with
Households with more members having income had lower risk of poverty.
Households with more agricultural land holding had lower risk of being poor.
Agricultural households living in the municipality areas had higher risk of
being poor than agricultural households living outside municipality areas.
Households in northeast and north Thailand had higher risk to become poor
than other areas.
There is a significant rise in income inequality in Thailand and this is shown when the
income Gini coefficient rose from 38 in the 1980s to 50 in the 1990s. The survey showed
the income inequality is the cause of increasing poverty. The studies concerning the
possible impact of trade liberalization on food security showed positive feedback for
Thailand as a leading exporter of food stuff. Steps have to be taken to maintain the status.
The mitigation of poverty can be achieved in Thailand through diversity of agriculture
products, export promotion strategies, macroeconomic policies, and decreased or
removed interventions in agriculture (Jitsuchon, 1990).
Six interesting strategic issues mentioned for the reduction of poverty emerged in the post
economic crisis in Thailand. These are:
(i) Self reliance and informal safety nets: Thai families provide a substantial
safety net to each other within the family and have thus moderated the severe
(ii) Causes of poverty: Land ownership, tenancy status and education appear to be
some of the strongest determinants of poverty in Thailand. In addition,
household headed by female at any age usually reduces the risk of poverty in
the rural area in Thailand but in the Northeast, households headed by younger
women aged lower than 45 have a lower risk of poverty than male-headed
households. However, households headed by older women have a higher risk
than their male-headed equivalents;
(iii) Structural or transitory poverty: Poverty in Thailand is becoming more
structural or more “chronic”. It means that the households in poverty today
are likely to be poor tomorrow;
(iv) Natural resources and poverty: Limited or low quality of natural resources
endowments traps people in low productivity livelihoods;
(v) Gender and poverty: The role of gender is a determinant of poverty. Thailand
has improved the access to education and health services to women but it
needs to increase the voice of women and to reduce their senses of
vulnerability and insecurity;
(vi) Growth, inequality, and poverty: The government will need to protect further
increases in income inequality (World Bank, 2001).
The study on the participation of women in food securities and other professional
activities showed that a considerable number of women participate in food production,
distribution and family food consumption in rural areas of Thailand. The supply and
demand of gender responsive technologies such as improving rural productivity and
economic opportunity will assist in poverty alleviation. Supportive policies by the
government are required for the successful implementation of gender responsive
technologies (IFAD, 2002).
2.3 Aquatic Resources
Some important information of aquatic resources in the Lower Mekong Basin in Thai
territory is reviewed below.
2.3.1 Water bodies, Spawning areas, Floodplains, and Irrigation systems
In Northeast Thailand, there are 3 major river basins, Mekong, Chi, and Mun Rivers.
Numbers of river basin branch of each major river basin are 38, 7, and 23, respectively.
The Mun River Basin has the highest average annual runoff amount (21,767 Million m3).
The Chi River has the highest storage amount of water (2,019.3 Million m3 in 1998 and
4,179 Million m3 in 2000) (Table 4) (The Royal Irrigation Department cited in Suwee et
Table 4: Information about major river basin in Northeast Thailand (1998 and 2000)
River Basin Name Mekong Chi Mun
Number of river basin branch 38 7 23
Drainage area (km ) 55,304 49,297 70,961
1998: Average annual runoff (Million m3) 15,800 8,035 21,767
1998: Storage of water (Million m3) 1,001.1 2,019.3 1,641.6
2000: Average annual runoff (Million m3) 15,800 8,035 21,767
2000: Storage of water (Million m ) 1,378 4,179 3,400
Source: The Royal Irrigation Department cited in Suwee et al., 2004.
In Thailand, total area of inland habitats is 4.5 million hectares, consisting of 4.1 million
hectares of rivers and wetlands and another 400,000 hectares of large reservoirs. There
are 47 rivers and 21 large reservoirs contributing to the production of freshwater fish
Northeast Thailand contributes about 184,000 square km. to the catchments of the
Mekong River that forms the international border with Lao PDR for a considerable
distance. This is approximately 36 percent of the total area of Thailand. The country
contributes about 18 percent to the total annual flow of the Lower Mekong River. In
Northeast, the major sub-catchments are the Mun-Chi basin and the Songkhram River
Basin. Floodplain system still occurs in the Songkhram River (Coates, 2002).
Irrigated areas in the Mekong River Basin in Thailand were drawn in the MRC Irrigation
Database 2002 studied by the MRC and mentioned in MRC report (2003). The number of
schemes was 8,764. Total area irrigated during wet season is 330,056 ha. While area
irrigated during dry season is 72,140 ha.
The information about the 11 major reservoirs in Northeast Thailand, Lam Pao, Lam
Takong, Lam Phra Phloeng, Nam Un, Ubol Ratana, Sirindhorn, Chulabhorn, Huai Luang,
Lam Nang Rong, Upper Mun, and Nam Pung, is summarized in Table 5. In 2002, the
Ubol Ratana Reservoirs provided the highest effective storage capacity, which was about
1,845 Million m3.
Table 5: The water of the reservoirs in Northeast Thailand as of 1st January in 1998 and
2002 (unit: Million Cubic Meters)
Total storage Active
Lam Pao 1,430 1,345 979 1,265
Lam Takong 324 297 147 165
Lam Phra Phloeng 110 109 32 20
Nam Un 520 477 379 435
Ubol Ratana 2,263 1,845 567 1,845
Sirindhorn 1,966 1,135 937 1,045
Chulabhorn 188 144 59 94
Huai Luang 113 108 84 105
Lam Nang Rong 121 118 56 63
Upper Mun 141 134 72 67
Nam Pung 165 156 101 NA
Total 7,341.0 5,868.0 3,413.0 5,104.0
Source: The Royal Irrigation Department cited in Suwee, et al., 2004
2.3.2 Aquatic organisms
There is clear evidence that the Giant Mekong Catfish (Pangasianodon gigas), a slow-
growing, late-maturing species are becoming scarcer. This fish was classified as
“endangered” on the 2000 International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Red List (MRC, 2003). Five Giant Catfishes were caught at Chiang Khong in Thailand in
the end of June 1997. Two males and three females caught, one female of 180 kg and one
male of 160-170 kg were stripped for eggs and sperm for breeding by the Department of
Fisheries of Thailand before being sold (Jorgen, 1997).
Approximately 200 fish species of which about 50 are of primary economic importance is
found in the Lower Mekong Basin (Interim CCI of the LMB, 1992).
Some fishery surveys were conducted in the natural water bodies in the basin:
A fisheries survey done by the Inland Fisheries Division showed that a total of
141 fish species which belong to 10 orders, 23 families were found in the
Mekong River in the vicinity of the Pa Mong Dam Site, Chiangmai Province
The study on fishery resources and fisheries activities in Mun River was
conducted during December in 1990 to December in 1991 by National Inland
Fisheries Institute, Department of Fishery of Thailand. There were 38 species
of phytoplankton and zooplankton and the density was about 645 individuals/
liter. There were 15 families of benthos recorded. The density was about
1,567 individuals/ sq.m. Sixteen species of aquatic macrophytes with low
density were found. Seventy species in 23 families of fish were explored.
Fish's density was 14.28 kg/rai which indicated an average level of
abundance. The Cyprinids is the most dominant species (Duangsawasdi and
The average Shannon-diversity indices of plankton, benthic fauna and fish
community were 2.77, 2.47, and 3.78, respectively. The highest species
abundance distribution of plankton and benthos was found in the Mun River
and fish community in the Chee River. The averages of fish productivity per
area and effectiveness of fishing were increasing when compared with the
study in 1993-1994 (Chaengkij et al., 2004).
Nong Han Swamp in Sakhon Nakhon Province can produce the productivities
of about 710 kg a day or about 21,920 kg per month for the local people and
those from nearby areas (Suteemeechaikul et al., 2000).
Some studies on aquatic resources in the reservoirs located in the Lower Mekong Basin
were reviewed below:
The survey on fish population in Chulabhorn Reservoir in Chaiyaphum
Province was conducted during the period January to October in 1989. Water
quality in the reservoir was appropriate for aquatic fauna. Fish standing crop
estimated by spot poisoning was 16.99 kg/rai. About 21 species from 9
families of fish were found and more than half of them belong to family
Cyprinidae. Forage to carnivorous species ratio (F/C) was 7.4, which is high
when compared to the Swingle (1975) indicating that F: C ration should be
3.0-6.0. Carp (37.85%), catfish (1.20%), murrel (2.80%), and miscellaneous
(58.15%) were recorded as fish composition. Fish diversity index ranged from
1.8941-2.5359, which was enough for aquatic living. CPUE by electro fishing
was 1.64/hr and fish caught composed of 13 species belonging from 8
families. Very low species of carnivorous fish species was found in the
reservoir. There was a need to promote aquaculture activities focusing on
carnivorous species in the area (Chantasavang et al., 1991).
Hydrobiological and fishery survey in Sirinthon Reservoir, Ubon Ratchathani
Province was carried out by the National Inland Fisheries Institute,
Department of Fisheries Thailand. Water quality in the reservoir was
appropriate for aquatic fauna. There were 32 species of phytoplankton and 11
species of zooplankton with total density 1.02 x 106 cells/ l. A total number of
11 species of benthos was recorded with a density of 43 individual/ m2. Fish
standing crop estimated by spot poisoning was 6.78 kg/rai. The ration
between forage to carnivorous species (F/C) was 0.58 and the CPUE
estimated by electro fishing was 0.835 kg/hr. To balance fish population,
herbivorous species should be added in this reservoir (Chookajorn et al.,
The study in Lumtakong Reservoir, Nakhon Ratchasima Province was
conducted in 1998. Water quality in the reservoir was in good situation based
on standard level. Shallow water has lower quality compared to the deep
water because of water contamination from agricultural activities. About 36
species belonging to 5 phyla of phytoplankton and 58 species in 3 phyla of
zooplankton were found. Diatom was the most dominant group. Blue-green
algae, the cause of phytoplankton bloom, are in the second most dominant
group. For benthic fauna, 18 species were found with an average of 3.72 x 102
cells/ m2 and composed of 65.77% of pelecypoda and 28.98% of gastropod.
The average indexes of plankton, benthic fauna were 2.32 and 2.67,
respectively. There were 34 species belonging to 17 families of fish found and
considered as low number of fish species. Average standing crop was 4.21
kg/rai and average CPUE was about 4.05 kg/hr. Diversity index was 4.30,
which is more than 3, indicating that water quality was appropriate for aquatic
resources. The forage to carnivorous species (F/C) was 1.09 in weight and
3.82 in number. F: C ratio in the reservoir was very low when compared to
Swingle (1975) indicating that F: C ratio should be 3.0-6.0. It can be
concluded that the reservoir lack food chain balance and need to be
rehabilitated. When the standing crop and CPUE are considered, it can be said
that the abundance of aquatic resources in Lamtakong reservoir has started to
decrease (Kakkaeo et al., 2002).
2.3.3 Land use and soils
The study on land cover dataset in 1997 showed that land in the Lower Mekong Basin in
Thailand was used for agriculture (79.28%), forest (15.74%), woodland/grassland
(3.47%), wetland/water (1.40%), and other (0.12%) (MRC, 2003)
As mentioned in MRC (2003), after the rapid deforestation in the 1980s, the Korat
Plateau and the rest of the Northeastern Region of Thailand are now almost 80 percent
agricultural land. Three main agricultural areas are in the upper and the lower sections of
the Chi-Mun Rivers and the smaller Mekong tributaries. The soil quality of the land in
Northeast Thailand is generally low in fertility and highly saline. Most agricultural
activities are taking place mainly in the alluvial soils in the middle and lower parts of the
river valleys where productivity is higher.
3. DEPENDENCE OF PEOPLE ON AQUATIC RESOURCES
3.1 Types of dependence on aquatic resources
Types of dependence on aquatic resources examined during the review are (1) People and
their livelihoods and (2) Food security and insecurity. The explanation of each type is
3.1.1 People and their livelihoods dependence on aquatic resources
(a) Agricultural activity:
One activity indicating human dependence on land considered as one type of
aquatic resources in the Lower Mekong Basin is agricultural activity, i.e. rice
plantation, other crop plantations, and aquaculture. As mentioned in MRC
(2003), per capita GDP of the country is around $2,000 (at 2001 prices),
equivalent to about $6,300 in purchasing power parity. Agriculture shares the
biggest part of GDP of the country. However, the basin’s agriculture’s share of
GDP in the country is still well over that for the country as a whole but
average rice yields are well below those on the central plains. Share of GDP in
crops and livestock/fisheries in Thailand decreased from 16.6% in 1993 to
14.8% in 1997 and from 4.3% in 1993 to 3.5% in 1997, respectively.
(b) Agricultural production:
Rice production in Northeast Thailand has increased greatly over the past
decade (between 1994 and 2001) by 33 percent. Total area of rice cultivation
in Northeast Thailand was 4,370,000 ha in 1994 and decreased to 153,600 ha
in 2001. While rice production decreased also from 7,158,000 tones in 1994 to
238,000 tones in 2001, the average yield increased from 1.64 tones per ha to
1.97 tones per ha. The main non-rice crops in Northeast Thailand identified in
the survey conducted by Thailand National Statistics Office 2000 mentioned
in MRC (2003) were sugarcane (12,098,000 tones), cassava (10,472,000
tones), maize (1,041,000 tones), soybean (54,000 tones), groundnut (46,000
tones), kenaf (29,000 tones), mungbean (15,000 tones), cotton (6,000 tones),
and sorghum (3 tones).
Dependence upon livestock is especially high for people employing
subsistence production systems. The data of the whole country was reviewed
by FAO in 2001 and mentioned in MRC (2003). Livestock production index
increased from 120.6 in 1992 to 124.2 in 2000. There has been a decrease in
the buffalo population and increased numbers of cattle, chickens, and ducks.
(a) For agriculture:
In Northeast Thailand, farming methods remain traditional; irrigation ratios
are much lower than in other parts of the country. Water scarcity is a major
concern. Water shortages prevent full utilization of existing irrigation works in
the dry season. However, there are reports of water shortages in the rainy
season (MRC, 2003).
(b) For hydropower:
Electric power is required both for economic development and domestic use.
In Mekong Basin in Thailand, there were 4 completed hydropower projects
(Sirindhorn, Chulabhorn, Ubolratana, and Pak Mun) listed in MRC 2001 and
cited in MRC 2003. Among these 4 dams, Pak Mun provides the highest
capacity and output of 136 MW and 462 GWh/year, respectively. Actual
electricity consumption in the whole country since 1990 to 2000 have
increased from 43,189 to 96,781 GWh. Energy demand forecast in Thailand in
2020 may be reach up to 328,000 GWh per year in 2000. (ADB, 2001 cited in
The construction of Nam Pong Reservoir generates 65 GWh of electricity per
year (Interim CCI of the LMB, 1979).
(c) For transportation and trade:
Thailand has benefited from the use of the river to transport a growing
proportion of its bilateral trade with Yunnan Province in China through the
Lower Mekong Basin ports of Chiang Saen and Chiang Khong in the northern
region (MRC, 2003).
(d) For domestic water and sanitation:
In whole country, demands of use of the Mekong Basin’s water for domestic
purpose and sanitation estimated in 1990 by World Resources Institute, 2000
cited in MRC, 2003 was only 5 percent of all ground and surface water used
for any purpose in the basin. Dissolved Oxygen (DO) (2002) in
“Comprehensive Assessment of Water Resources and Use in the Lower
Mekong Basin” showed the water availability and water demand in the basin.
He estimated the total water demand considering domestic, industrial and
irrigation water demand. There was higher demand of water compared to the
water availability in Thailand. There was a big gap of water availability
between the wet seasons (85%) and dry seasons (15%).
(e) For aquaculture:
Quantity of inland fisheries production by aquaculture in Thailand has
increased from 161,600 tons (1993) to 252,600 tons (1999) (DOF cited in
Suwee et al., 2004).
People engaged in aquaculture because of the belief that it is the key role to
increase fish production in the future. Rice-fish culture is widespread in both
rain-fed and irrigated areas of Northeast Thailand. It may have more potential
in rain-fed areas with traditional rice varieties cultivated in deeper water with
minimal use of pesticides (Interim CCI of the LMB, 1992).
MRC (2003) has reviewed aquaculture in Northeast Thailand. With production
from small-scale operations estimated to be in excess of 30, 000 tunes, an
estimate for the total annual aquaculture production is 65,000 tones. Pond
culture has the biggest contribution to total production. Rice-field culture is
also practiced. Cage culture of tilapia, catfish (Pangasius bocourti and
Pangasianodon hypophthalmus) is also being done in Mekong mainstream.
NE Thailand is an important supplier of seed and feed to areas in Lao PDR
bordering the Mekong River.
(f) For collection of fish and aquatic fauna:
Inland capture production in Thailand in 1993 was 175,400 tons and increased
to 206,900 tons in 1999 (DOF cited in Suwee et al., 2004). More than one
thousand people are involved in beach seine net in the study area during 1967-
1968 in the Mekong River near the vicinity of the Pa Mong Dam Site,
Chiangmai Province (Sidthimunka, 1970).
During the period of 1988-1990, fish production data of Thailand was derived
from a survey done by Prapertchob, 1989 cited in the report named “Fisheries
in the Lower Mekong Basin” in 1992. Fish production in Northeast Thailand
was about 321,981 tones consisting of 302,662 tones from inland capture and
19,319 tones from inland culture (Interim CCI of the LMB, 1992).
A fishery in Mun River was considered as traditional and for household
consumption. Six types of fishing gears were used (Duangsawasdi and
In Nong Han Swam, Sakhon Nakhon Province, a total of 416 fishermen were
in the area with catch amount of 4.8 kg per day. About 15 types of fishing
gears were used in the swamp. Fishermen had an average of 15.6 years
experience and the average fishing effort was 4.6 day per week. They get 5.2
kg/rai/year from their fishing efforts with an average income of 107 Baht/
fishing day. The most serious problem of fishermen when doing fishing was
the obstacle of dense hyacinth floating all over the swamp (Suteemeechaikul et
Fish production was 2,000 tons per year exceeding the catch from the river
channel that was submerged by impoundment in Nam Pong Basin (Interim
CCI of the LMB, 1979).
The study in Songkhram River Basin showed the comparison of production
obtained from different habitats. It was found that water body (including
natural swamp/marsh, reservoir and pond inside the study area) provided the
highest production (24.5 tones per year) more than paddy rice, floodplain, and
river stream. Estimated average catch per household is 19,673 tones per year
form the total number of households involved in fisheries. By using data
gathered on the typical catch per year by gear from the profile of individuals,
combined with the number of gear from the village inventory, an estimated
catch per year in the area is 16,786 tones. Consumption data was combined
with the estimated total consumption of fisheries products from their own
capture with the number of population from the village inventory survey and
the total catch per year is 26,128 tones (Sjorslev et al., 2000).
The study on fisheries activities and catch in Huai Luang reservoir, Udon
Thani Province, Thailand presented that an average income of fishers was
168.71 Baht per fishing day and they did fishing about 4.22 days per week.
About 12 fishing gears were used around the reservoir. Total fish yield was
estimated to be about 781 tones per year (Nakkaew et al., 2001).
(h) For recreational fisheries:
The sport/recreational fisheries sector has been rapidly growing in inland water
bodies particularly in reservoirs. The larger supermarkets or department stores,
usually sell angling and other equipment for fishing used especially for
recreation during the weekend or holiday (Coates, 2002).
Flood plain utilization:
In the past, floodplains were beneficial as inland fisheries habitats but at
present, flood plains have almost disappeared due to the construction of dams
and other infrastructure developments (Pawaputanon, 2003).
However, in some parts of the country floodplains are used for many purposes.
From the survey results in Ban Pak Yam, a Village in the Songkhram River
Basin in Northeast Thailand, floodplain area was used as grazing ground for
cattle, source of materials for handicrafts and tools, source of food resources
such as bamboo shoots, mushrooms, wild vegetables and fruits and wild
animals. Floodplain vegetation was used as a resource for traditional medicine.
Important activities done in the floodplain was fishing activities (Buergin,
3.1.2 Food security (or insecurity)
For Thailand, inland fishery is significant in terms of providing food security and
employment to a large number of fishers and rural people. There are 47 rivers and 21
reservoirs contributing to freshwater fish production. Some constraints in the collection of
inland fisheries information are (1) lack of basic up-to-date data, (2) accuracy of data
collection, (3) knowledge of scientific data collection, (4) scattered information, and (5)
large size of habitat. Thai Department of Fisheries had realized that information was a
powerful tool for planning and management of inland fisheries resources. Therefore,
many activities have been done to overcome mentioned constraints, i.e. set up a single
unit for information and cooperate with intergovernmental organizations like FAO,
NACA, and MRC (Pawaputanon, 2003).
Food consumption and nutritional value:
Food insecurity in Thailand has been reviewed by FAO in “The State of Food
Insecurity in the World 2004”. Total population in Thailand increased from
55.1 millions in 1990-1992 to 61.6 millions in 2000-2002. The number of
people who were undernourished declined from 15.2 millions (28 % of total
population in Thailand) in 1990-1992 to 12.2 millions (20% of total
population in Thailand) in 2000-2002. Thailand was classified in the
prevalence category of 20 to 34% undernourished. Food availability that was
presented in term of Dietary Energy Supply (DES) increased from 2,250
Kcal/day/person in 1990-1992 to 2,450 Kcal/day/person in 2000-2002. Share
of non-starchy food in total DES showing the diet diversification was
approximately 33% in 1979-1981 and increased up to 50% in 2000-2002.
“Under-five mortality rate”, used to present the child mortality, was about 40
per 1,000 live births in 1990 and declined to 28 per 1,000 live births in 2002.
Child nutritional status as indicated by using “under-five underweight”,
decreased from 25% in 1990 to 18% in 2000. Literacy rate, indicating the
education status in Thailand, was 98% in 1990 and 99% in 2003.
Urbanization, which is a percentage of population at mid-year residing in
urban areas, was 29% in 1990 and it increased to 31% in 2000 (FAO, 2004).
Freshwater resources is considered as the most accessible and inexpensive
source of protein for most Thais (Pawaputanon, 2003). Among the LMB
countries, Thailand is the most underprivileged in nutrition level.
Traditionally, supplies of animal protein have been obtained particularly from
fish (Interim CCI of LMB, 1992).
In Thailand, the average daily per capita calorie supply in 1999 was 2,411
kilocalories, which is well above the recommended daily minimum of 2,100
kilocalories. Protein constituted less than ten percent of per capita calorie
intake (FAO, 2001 cited in MRC, 2003). The average protein requirement for
adults is between 0.8-1.0 g protein/kg body weight/day (MRC, 2003).
During the period of 1988-1990, the fish consumption for Thailand was
derived from an actual fish consumption survey done by Prapertchob, 1989
cited in the report named “Fisheries in the Lower Mekong Basin in 1992. The
fish consumption was calculated as 15.3 kg/caput/year (Interim CCI of the
The study by Sjorslev (in press) cited in MRC (2003) shows that in Northeast
Thailand, annual fish consumption is about 35 kg per person. The average
range is about 20-41 kg per person per year. The assessed total consumption of
freshwater fish, fish products, and aquatic animals in 1999/2000 based on the
22,439,000 persons, the population in Northeast Thailand in 1999/2000 was
The total consumption per capita per year is about 28.7 kg per year. Average
consumption per capita for the local people in the Lower Songkhram Basin of
captured fish, cultural fish, purchased fish and received fish is about 20.7, 0.1,
7.0, and 0.8 kg per year, respectively (Sjorslev et.al., 2000).
Fermented fish is considered as the popular food of people in Northeast
Thailand. The study on fermented fish products and its potential health
implication was studied in Sisaket Province, Thailand. Raw material or fish
was caught from the rivers or canals near the processor’s villages. Some
people used trap to catch fish in the paddy field. Ninety percent of respondents
in the study area eat fermented fish (in Thai name called Pla ra) everyday.
About 15-40 gram per person per day of Pla ra eaten by Northeast people was
reported by Thai Farmers’ Bank in 1999. The annual Pla ra consumption in the
study area varied from 10-40 kg per household with an average of 24.8 kg per
household (Puangsawat, 2002).
The "Steady reduction in poverty and malnutrition of Thailand" has been
discussed in the part of "dynamics of change" in the State of Food Insecurity in
the World 2000. In 1982, more than 50 percent of children under-5 years of
age were underweight. Thailand, therefore, launched a strategy to alleviate
poverty and malnutrition through community action in 1982. It was first
implemented in the 286 districts identified as the poorest in the country and
extended nationwide in 1984. Between 1982 and 1998, malnutrition was
reduced from 35 to 8 percent of underweight in children under five (FAO,
There are usually distinct gender roles to do with the purchase, management
and preparation of food, as well as gender divisions in terms of access to food
outside the home, and general access to and management of resources (Young,
The Royal Thai Government recently realized the importance of gender role for
food security and approved a project on “Technology Transfer for Gender and
Aquaculture in North-East Thailand”, which was started in May 2002. The
RTG support this project of studying aquaculture and fisheries technology from
a gender perspective. The study aimed to formulate strategies and
recommendation to improve the transfer of technology for better
commercialization of freshwater aquaculture in some of the poorest provinces.
Training and credit facilities are easier for men to access than women and less
than 10% of female farmers were trained by the DOF. However, more women
tend to participate in trainings for post-harvest technology, including
preservation and cooking and understanding the nutrition value of fish. Thai
Women in Fisheries Network (TWIF) established in February 2000 was
supported by the MRC Fisheries Programme. The purpose of this network is to
ensure women an equitable share in the country’s development of the fisheries
sector. Women need to be offered equal access to training and other kinds of
supports. They should be given more chance to take part in planning for
development initiative that will have an impact on them and their families
(Sriputtnibondh and Suntornratana, 2002).
Women play an integral role in inland fisheries. They have been involved in
different fisheries activities in different ways such as finding food for family,
processing fish, selling fishery products, and supporting husband in fishing and
repairing fishing gears (Suntornratana and Visser, Undated).
The research was carried out in three provinces of Udonthani, Nongkhai, and
Mahasarakharm Provinces in Northeast Thailand. Men were the major actors in
most of the activities related to aquaculture in all aquaculture types. However,
in the workshop women said that they play major role in aquaculture activities
(Kusakabe, Korsieporn, and Suntornratana, 2003).
3.2 Spatial/ Season/Time
There is big gap of water availability between the wet seasons (85%) and dry seasons
(15%) (Do, 2002).
In Mekong River, in the vicinity of the Pa Mong Dam Site, Chiangmai Province, the
fishing season starts with the receding of annual flood at the beginning of October and
continues until July of the consecutive year or until the onset of the new floods
In Ban Pak Yam, a village in the Songkhram River Basin, Nakhon Phanom Province,
water remains in small lakes and artificial ponds on the floodplain in the public land, in
October, after the annual flood decreases. The village headman is in charge for setting up
an auction, where villagers can bid for the use of these lakes during the next seasons until
it is flooded again in July or August (Buergin, 2003).
In Thailand, inland fisheries can be practiced all year round but the amount caught may
vary from season to season. Generally, freshwater fish is abundant during the rainy
season from June to September. During this period, rivers, wetlands and flood plains are
very productive as new water activates spawning. Yearling fish will grow up to full size
during this period and they are the target of fishing effort. During October to December,
when water levels in inland habitats start leveling off, fishers can easily access grown fish
from the rainy season using many types of fishing gears. In the reservoirs, fishing can be
done all year round but fish are caught more readily from July to September when the
water level is low (Pawaputanon, 2003).
During the large dry season depressions, pond-traps, which require a license, were used in
flooded area. Owners of flooded land will often construct pond traps (Coates, 2002).
3.3 Assessment Methods Reviewed
Many fishery surveys were conducted by using qualitative and quantitative analysis. The
secondary data was collected from the related agencies. Sampling survey and
questionnaire interview with fishermen and merchants were used to collect biological and
socio-economic data (Sidthimunka, 1970; Duangsawasdi and Duangsawasdi, 1992;
Chaengkij, et al., 2004; Suteemeechaikul, et al., 2000)
The potential and prospect of water availability and water demands in the Lower Mekong
Basin were studied by dividing the total area into 36 sub-catchments. Total flow and
mean annual run-off were determined for each sub-basin and was compared (Do, 2002).
Study of Environmental Impact of Nam Pong Project was carried out in Northeast
Thailand. The project findings are based on the series of working documents (14 studies)
that have been done in the area (Interim CCI of the LMB, 1979)
Combining sampling and census approaches for fisheries habitat assessment were done in
Songkhram River Basin, Northeast Thailand. The study attempted to measure the level of
involvement of households and individuals in fisheries, the economic importance of the
fisheries, consumption data, information on the habitats exploited and their yield, and
similar information for gears. It also aimed to assess catch composition and total
production. The results were combined from GIS data, sample data, and village inventory
data. GIS data was obtained from the Thailand Environment Institute (TEI) "Thailand on
a Disc" (ToaD). Sample data was collected from interviews with villagers, household
heads, and head of villages using questionnaire. Village inventory was made to receive a
broader coverage of data than the sample survey with assistance of the village leaders in
11 districts by using simple questionnaire format. Questionnaires were distributed with
stamped envelopes. This inventory was a kind of postal survey. After filling up the
questionnaire, the respondents will send it back by post mail. All data were combined to
assess the yield by habitats (Sjorslev et al., 2000).
Some assessment has been done without any specific methodology or approach. For
example, integration of various tools and approaches to assess the dependence on aquatic
resources has been used in the study on fisheries activities and catch in Huai Luang
reservoir, Udon Thani Province, Thailand. It was carried out in 12 villages in 4 sub-
districts around the reservoir. At first, key informants like village leaders were
interviewed to collect the fishery status like number of fishers involved in fisheries in the
reservoir in each village. Seventy-five local fishers were selected and interviewed by
using questionnaire to gather the data about catch, gear type, fishing activity, catch use
and constraints faced by fishers as well as socio-economic condition of fishers. Next,
Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) workshop was conducted to identify urgent needs of
fishers in the areas (Nakkaew et al., 2001).
Another study using integration of various tools and approaches is conducted in 3
reservoirs; Nam Oon in Sakon Nakhon Province, Kaeng Lawa in Khon Kaen Province,
and Huai Muk in Mukdahan Province, Thailand during 1999-2004. It aimed to assess
catch, to identify fishing gears used, to assess the economic and social situations of
fishermen, and to identify the problems, constraints and needs of fisheries in the target
reservoirs. The study started with collection of data regarding the number of villages
involved in fisheries, and the number of fishermen in each village by interviewing the
village headman. Afterwhich, the fishermen were interviewed using a questionnaire to
collect data about catch (species diversity, catch composition, and total catch), fishing
gear used, fishery activity, socio-economic data, problems related to fisheries
(Nachaipherm et al., 2002).
Socio-economic survey approach was used to study on the level of living, income and
expenditures, and agricultural economy of people in the areas and to serve as a guideline
for the development of occupations in the areas.
Firstly, the interviewers were trained by the socio-economic research experts.
Secondly, the field work was conducted by interviewing the informants of
selected households. The heads of sub-district and heads of villages were also
Finally, the study had 739 complete returns out of 828 schedules in 8
provinces. The results were presented in 89 tables.
The paper was outlined as follows: the general socio-economic conditions of
the households in northeast, involvement in development project
implementation, occupations of households in the development areas, and
local conditions and characteristics, respectively (Narkswasdi, 1979).
Another socio-economic survey was conducted to explore the utilization of floodplain
vegetation in northeast Thailand by compiling the survey results from Ban Pak Yam, a
village in the Songkhram River Basin, Sam Phong Sub-district, Sri Songkhram District in
Nakhon Phanom Province. Data was collected from many sources such as talking with
people daily during staying in the village, semi-structured interviews with village
headman, sub-district council members, teachers, and other villagers on specific topics. In
the village, 107 of 141 households (76%) were interviewed using structured-
questionnaire. Two nearby district afternoon markets were visited to observe availability
and marketing of floodplain vegetation products. A total number of 186 interviews were
conducted at these 2 markets once or twice per month in 9 months (Dec 96-Aug 97). All
vendors selling floodplain products were interviewed at these 2 markets. Land use and
village infrastructure stems from maps and aerial photographs were collected (Buergin,
“Women as a source of information on inland fisheries” is a new approach for the
improvement of inland capture fisheries statistics in the Mekong Basin proposed in
Thailand since women are involved in many activities related to fish and fisheries. Thus,
it can be said that the knowledge available from men and women about the same habitat
is complementary. Interviewers and survey staffs need to understand the gender issue as
one of the requirements for gaining local knowledge. Suitable times and places must be
selected to maximize involvement of women and men during the interview. It is
important that both male and female staffs are employed to conduct survey because
sometimes, female respondents often feel comfortable talking to female interviewers
(Suntornratana and Visser, Undated).
“Women’s access to information in freshwater aquaculture technology” is another
approach used in Northeast Thailand in 3 provinces; Udonthani, Nongkhai, and
Mahasarakharm Provinces. The respondents were selected to participate in a workshop. A
self-learning environment was important for men and women farmers to improve their
aquaculture techniques. Provision of added benefit of improved self-confidence and
decision-making power to women was conducted. Use of telephone to create the self-
learning environment was suggested (Kusakabe et al., 2003).
Some assessment methods used to obtain inland fisheries information in Thailand are
spatial and temporal random design, port and market samplings, and also interviews and
questionnaires. Further statistical analysis using Cluster Analysis and Multidimensional
Scaling was carried (Pawaputanon, 2003).
In fishery research, many biological indicators for aquatic resources such as plankton,
benthos, aquatic macrophytes, and fish as well as socio-economic indicators have been
found in the literature reviewed (Sidthimunka, 1970; Duangsawasdi and Duangsawasdi,
1992; Chaengkij et al., 2004; Suteemeechaikul et al., 2000; Chantasavang et al., 1991;
Chookajorn, et al., 1988; Kakkaeo et al., 2002; Coates, 2002).
Biological indicators for fishery research:
Water quality (physical and chemical parameter of waters influencing aquatic
Biodiversity and abundance of aquatic resources:
- Diversity index (Generally, Tudorancea et al., 1979 cited in Chantasavang
et al., 1991) indicated that if the diversity index is less than 1, it means
that the water quality is not appropriate for aquatic resources living in the
area. If the diversity index is ranging between 1- 3, it means that the water
quality is suitable for aquatic resources. The appropriate water quality for
aquatic resources living should be more than 3)
- Fish density (individuals./m2)
- Number of fish species and No. of families
- Fish productivity and biomass
- Fish species composition (Forage to Carnivorous species (F/C) should
between 3-6 (Swingle (1975) cited in Chantasavang et al., 1991)
- Fish standing crop estimated by spot poisoning (kg/rai)
- Dominant species,
Distribution of aquatic resources
Weight and Length Relationship
Stomach content analysis of fish
Socio-economic indicators for fishery research:
Number of fishers
Fishing gear types used and fishing activity
Fish catch (Catch/person/year, total catches, Catch Per Unit of Effort (CPUE)
in g/hr unit by electro fishing and Catch Per Month)
Fishermen’s household status
Problems and constraints in fishing
Other socio-economic indicators used in Narkswasdi (1979) are the system of land tenure,
land use for different purposes, fragmentation of holdings, capital investment in farming,
pattern of family income and expenditure, cost of living, indebtedness, difficulty in
production, difficulties in the disposal of farm products and livestock, innovation and
their adoption, principal crop yields, level of living (number and percent of families
owing various items), and income and expenditure.
The indicators like stream flow, total flow and mean annual run-off may be used to
estimate amount of water resources available in the region. The total water demand can
be estimated considering domestic, industrial and irrigation water demands (Do, 2002).
"Study of Environmental Impact of Nam Pong Project" was conducted. The main
environmental and socio-economic indicators after first 15 years of Nam Pong Project
are: (1) water (hydro-power, water supply), (2) land (soil), (3) air, (4) man (living space,
socio-economic status), (5) aquatic biota (lake fishery, downstream fishery, and water
fowl), and (6) land biota (crops, wildlife, and forests) (Interim CCI of the LMB, 1979)
3.5 Data Availability
Secondary data can be collected from Mekong River Commission (MRC) and the
National Mekong Committee of Thailand and other published study reports for the study
related to Mekong Basin (MRC, 2003).
GIS data about Thailand can be obtained from the Thailand Environment Institute (TEI)
"Thailand on a Disc" (ToaD) (Sjorslev et al., 2000).
Study of Environmental Impact of Nam Pong Project was carried out in Northeast
Thailand. The project findings are based on the series of working documents (14 studies)
that have been carried out in the area. It can be a good source of secondary information
(Interim CCI of the LMB, 1979; 1992)
Food insecurity in Thailand has been reviewed by FAO in “The State of Food Insecurity
in the World 2004” (FAO, 2004). The information can be used for future studies.
3.6 Gaps in Information
Gaps in information about dependence were analyzed after the literatures were reviewed.
Comments from participants of national and regional workshop and international expert
were also added (Table 10 in an Appendix). The details of all gaps are as follows:
1) There are very less information on the sources of income of people especially
from aquatic resources. This implies the degree of people’s dependency on aquatic
resources. There is a need to conduct research to examine the source of income of
people from aquatic resources and none aquatic resources. What is the degree of
people dependent on aquatic resources for their sources of income? The National
Statistical Office can provide very useful information about this for MRC
Vulnerability Assessment. Food Consumption and Expense Survey is
recommended for this study.
2) Most of the studies for estimating the aquatic resources are reservoir or province-
specific, being carried out at different durations. It is quite difficult to predict the
availability of the aquatic resources. There is a need to conduct research
specifically in LMB in Thailand to determine availability of aquatic resources.
What kind and how many aquatic resources are available in the LMB of Thailand
3) The information about aquatic vegetations such as lotus, reeds, and water
hyacinth, etc. that were used in LMB in Thailand is missing in this review. What
kind of aquatic vegetation and their quantity are being utilized by the people in
LMB of Thailand region? How are these aquatic vegetations being used?
4) The information about valuation of aquatic resource should be included in the
study to understand how people depend on aquatic resources/ecosystems. Based
on their uses, what are the values of the aquatic resources to the people living
within the region?
5) There are few studies about fishery marketing. There is also no information about
fishery processing in the LMB of Thailand. As we know, fishermen are the main
groups of people who depend on aquatic resources. Information about fishery
marketing and fishery processing in the LMB can tell us about other groups of
people who depend on aquatic resources apart from fishermen, such as group of
processors and merchants. Who are the people or groups of people who engage in
fishery marketing and processing to determine how they depend on aquatic
6) There is a need to gather specific information about groups and locations before a
sampling frame can be prepared. Who is dependent upon aquatic resources, and
where are they? Why are they dependent? Are ethnic minorities more dependent
on aquatic resources? Who depends upon floods?
7) In Thailand, the Vulnerability Assessment should focus more on livelihood rather
than on food insecurity. Therefore, information about the livelihood of people
who are dependent on aquatic resources should be reviewed more. Is there
concrete evidence that there is no food insecurity in Thailand? What are the
livelihoods strategies of people who are dependent on aquatic resources?
8) There is no information about landowners and landless people, and their
dependence on private and common property resources. Examination of link
between property rights and poverty/food insecurity is needed. Are landless
people who depend on Common Pool Resources more vulnerable? Are landless
people more prone to migration if they lose their livelihoods? Who migrates? Why
do they migrate? What is the migrant's dependence on aquatic resources?
9) Information on gender and stage of life are not presented in this literature review.
Most available information is about normal conditions. There is little information
about stressful conditions. Therefore, there is a need to do research to answer the
question: “How does gender and age affect dependence on aquatic resources?”
10) In Thailand, there is not much information found about seasonal cycles of food
insecurity. Some participants during the national workshop felt that food
insecurity is not an issue in Thailand. People are malnourished because of their
consumption habits. This needs to be verified. Are there seasonal cycles of food
insecurity for people who depend on aquatic resources?
11) While many assessment methods were found, there are no examples or experience
on vulnerability assessment particularly related to change in aquatic resources in
Thailand. Training may be needed before Vulnerability Assessment can be carried
out in Thailand.
12) Generally, Common Country Assessment (CCA) of Thailand is very useful to
understand the food security conditions of people in Thailand. New version of
CCA will be released in September 2005 by Thai UN.
The review of the fishery sector in the Lower Mekong Basin by the Interim CCI of the
LMB (1992) came up with the following issues in local and regional levels such as:
General issues included the problems associated with the exploitation of a
shared resource by individual operators, the dependence on natural production
with associated high variability in space and time, and the relatively large
capital/credit needs in many production systems that put severe demands on
credit systems when the production is subject to large natural variation.
Regional issues were management of shared stocks, environmental impacts
with regional significance, and regional cooperation on information exchange
National issues consisted of (1) general issues including weak information
base, neglect of subsistence and small-scale production, and fish production in
different natural and man-made water bodies and agro-ecological systems, (2)
capture fisheries issues including need for intervention, competition between
high and low value fish (maybe neglect in official statistics of low fish value),
and (3) reservoir fisheries should be managed.
Fisheries activities and catch assessment of three reservoirs: Nam Oon in Sakon Nakhon
Province, Kaeng Lawa in Khon Kaen Province, and Huai Muk in Mukdahan Province
were carried for 5 years (1999-2004) by interviewing the fisheries. It showed some
problems faced by fishers such as decrease in fishery resource, dense weeds lead to
shallow reservoir, water pollution from city and farms, illegal fishing, no fish market
available, high fish mortality during winter, low fish diversity, disease caused by parasite
and conflicts with fishers from outside (Nachaipherm et al., 2002).
The research conducted by Chaengkij et al. (2004) in the Pong, Chee, Mun Rivers during
May, November in 2001 and February in 2002 showed that the ‘beach seine net’ was used
in the Lower Mun River when the water level started to decrease. This type of fishing
gear can collect all sizes of fish thus, the fish were caught before they even mature.
The gender issue is raised as an important factor considering the growth and utilization of
the aquatic resources in Thailand since women are involved in many activities related to
fish and fisheries. Thus, it can be said that the knowledge available from men and women
about the same habitat is complementary (Suntornratana and Visser, Undated). “Women’s
access to information in freshwater aquaculture technology” is another approach used in
Northeast Thailand for aquatic resources study (Kusakabe et al., 2003).
3.8 Conclusions for dependence of people on aquatic resources
Inland capture fisheries has contributed significantly towards the maintenance of food
security, especially for the rural communities in the interior of the Southeast Asian
countries, which possess more than 500,000 sq. km of natural swamps, marshes, natural
lakes, reservoirs, rivers and streams (FAO, 1993 as sited by Menasveta, 2000).
Some information enabled the researcher to somehow answer in general about how
people depend on aquatic resources. Two types of dependence are examined: (1) People
and their livelihood’s dependence on aquatic resources and (2) Food security and
insecurity dependence on aquatic resources.
People and their livelihood depend on aquatic resources in many ways. Land use,
especially for agricultural activity, i.e. rice plantation, other crop plantations, aquaculture,
and livestock are some of the main activities of people on the Lower Mekong Basin of
Thailand. .People use water for many purposes such as for agriculture, hydropower,
transportation and trade, aquaculture, collection of fish and aquatic fauna and recreational
fisheries. Flood plain utilization was another important activity showing how people
depend on aquatic resources.
Food security and insecurity in terms of food consumption and nutritional value were
pointed out in the grey literature review. There are distinct gender roles to do with the
purchase, management and preparation of food for food security.
There is no specific information to answer the question of where and when people depend
on aquatic resource. Generally, all people’s activities that depend on aquatic resources
can be done whole-year round. The amount of fish caught may vary from season to
season. The abundance of fish is more during June to September, which is a rainy season.
Annual flood, generally in occurred in October to July.
It can be concluded that a number of reliable sources of data related to aquatic resources
of LMB in Thailand and that of whole Thailand exists. Some of the sources are FAO,
MRC and Interim CCI of the LMB, UN Common database for Thailand and GIS data of
Thailand in the form of Thailand in a Disk (ToaD) etc.
Assessment methods that can be used to identify how people depend on aquatic resources
were qualitative and quantitative analysis, combining sampling and census approach,
socio-economic survey approach and integrated approach. However, there is no specific
methodology for this purpose.
Gap analysis proposed that information on sources of income of people especially from
aquatic resources can contribute to the identification of degree of dependence. Therefore,
there is a need to conduct research to find out such information. The study can inform us
in general about who, how, where, when and why people depended upon aquatic
resources in Thailand but there is no specific or accurate information that can inform us
about these questions and degree of people’s dependence on aquatic resources in LMB of
Thailand. Another question about who depends upon floods is another gap that can be
identified. Insufficient information on livelihood of people who depend on aquatic
resources should also be considered.
4. THREATS AND RISKS TO PEOPLE, PEOPLE’S LIVELIHOODS, FOOD
SECURITY, AND AQUATIC RESOURCES.
4.1 Type of threats
The type of risks and threats included in the study are: (1) threats and risks to people and
their livelihoods, (2) threats and risks to food security (or food insecurity), and (3) threats
and risks to aquatic resources. The details are explained below.
4.1.1 Threats and risks to people and their livelihoods
Dam and reservoir and other development projects
The study on fisheries activities and catch in Huai Luang reservoir, Udon Thani
Province, Thailand found that fishers faced the problems about decrease in
catch, declining of water levels due to sedimentation loading, and pollution
from a local cassava starch factory (Nakkaew et al., 2001).
“Many species robbed of spawning grounds”, is an article presented in the Bangkok
Post Newspaper on June 11, 2002. It presented that people’s livelihood have
changed after the construction of Pak Mun Dam in Ubon Ratchathani. Some people
have changed their occupations after the construction of dam (Kongrut, 2002).
The article entitled “Affected villagers have lost their economic, social and
cultural underpinnings” is written by the members of the Council on
International Educational Exchange (CIEE) Study Abroad, Khon Kaen
University. They mentioned that at least four rights of the Pak Mun villagers
that should be protected under the International Covenant of Economic, Social,
and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) ratified in 1999 are violated by the Thai
government, after it started operating the Pak Mun Dam. Four rights mentioned
are "Right to Natural Resource", "Right to Food Source", "Right to Work", and
"Right to Culture". They recommended that the government should find a
solution to restore the Mun River and stop violating the rights of the Pak Mun
villagers, if the government is truthful in its commitment to the ICESCR (El-
Silimy et al., 2002).
Lam Takong Pumped Storage Project, a pumped storage hydropower project
situated in Nakhon Ratchasima Province in the Northeast, Thailand, have
affected 371 people. Contaminated dust from the blasting affected all places.
The project construction destroyed villagers’ livelihood. After the project
started, the blasting resulted to many negative impacts to villagers such as
disturbing vibrations, noise and air pollution, dust that contaminates all places
including wells. Construction has been completed yet villagers' sufferings have
not been mitigated, and decrease in agricultural products persisted. Some
requests from villagers to the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC)
are: (1) Recovery of the villager's health and cancellation of the debt caused by
the impacts, (2) installation of a clean water supply, and (3) a reparation fund
for the community to restore villagers' livelihood. The most significantly,
monitoring must be strengthened (Imhof (ed.), 2003).
Flood and drought
The severity of biophysical vulnerability is generally felt after the threat
occurred in the study area in terms of lack of resources or change in
environment. Flood, the most frequent disaster occurring in Thailand, occurs
during monsoon season (June-September), causing damage to property more
than any other kind of disaster (Thailand Country Report, 1999).
Droughts annually occur in the dry season during March-April. In 1997
droughts occurred in 63 provinces, affecting 24,804 villages, 3,011,601
families or 14,394,322 individuals, and about 414,313 hectares of agricultural
area (Thailand Country Report, 1999).
Conflict in natural resource utilization
The survey on “Conflict in Natural Resources Utilization in Northeastern
Thailand” in 1997 found 932 cases of conflicts. More than 54 per cent (the
highest) of which was public land conflicts between local communities and
government agencies (Kunurat et al., 1997 in Laohasiriwong, 2002). In this
survey, it was revealed that conflicts were: villagers vs. government agencies
(54%), villagers vs. villagers (23%), villagers vs. individual (17%), villagers
vs. state enterprises (2%) and others (4%). Conflicts over land distribution
have root since decades back (Laohasiriwong, 2002).
4.1.2 Threats and risks to food security (or food insecurity)
Development project: Pump storage hydropower project
Lam Takong Pumped Storage Project, a pumped storage hydropower project
in Nakhon Ratchasima Province in the Northeast Thailand resulted to the
sufferings of villagers from physical and mental health problems. It was
caused by drinking polluted and contaminated water, bathing in contaminated
water and breathing polluted air. Villagers suffered from respiratory illnesses,
skin rashes, diarrhea and vomiting. Some people remain sick and disabled.
The decrease in agricultural productions and loss of natural resources resulted
to poverty and finally food insecurity (Imhof (ed.), 2003).
In Thailand, 14.2% of people from the whole kingdom are below the poverty
line. Approximately 28.1% of people living in Northeast Thailand are below
poverty line in 2000. For Thailand, the official line translates into income
below 882 Baht per person per month (Inter-Agency Support Unit, 2002). The
boom in the economy was seen between 1960s and 1990s. It has transformed
Thailand from a subsistence agriculture society into a rapidly industrializing
country. However, in mid 1997, the economies throughout Southeast and East
Asia including Thailand worsened. The number of poor families has
constantly decreased from 1988 to 1997 but increased again after the crisis and
in the following years (FAO/FIVIMS, 2004).
However, according to the study by Tontisirin and Bhattacharjee (2000), the
economic crisis has not demonstrated any severe effect on the food security
status of Thai population, which is partly due to the “food safety net”
established in Thailand through the long term efforts of the Royal Family and
the government and non governmental organizations (NGOs). The economic
crisis is likely to have far reaching implications on nutritional status in certain
areas of population groups, for which there is a need to monitor carefully, the
specific consequences of unemployment among them.
Food production, distribution, and human consumption
Much of food produced in Thailand is never consumed because of losses at
crop harvesting, handling, and field operations, post-harvest storage,
transportation and distribution, marketing operations, and within the home
during preparation and consumption of food. In Thailand, post-harvest food
losses are still very high. It ranges from as high as 70% for some sensitive
crops under adverse conditions (Varanyanond, 2000).
Despite the fact that Thailand is self-sufficient in food production, problems of
poverty and malnutrition among rural or low income people still persist. To
improve nutrition situation in the country, there is a need to give attention to
problems of health and the socio-economic system in the region. and food
production and distribution. The development of food availability through
food production, processing, preservation and distribution of nutritious food
must be guaranteed to ensure food security. The process of development has to
be based on basic information and infrastructure of the nation. Food and
nutrition current status and trend in the future in Thailand is shown in Table 6
Table 6: Food and nutrition current status and trend in the future
Production/ Present status Trend in the future
Food production - Production > demand - Land decrease
- For export - Mobilization of agriculture
population high residue of
chemical with high risk.
Distribution - Distribution of food is not - Continue the same problem.
direct to malnutrition group. Natural food was replaced by
- Food distribution among the processed food.
family is not suitable
Consumption - Increase demand of ready to - Convenience food
eat food, street food, - Globalization and information
processed. technology change the life
- Believe on advertising media. system.
- Population in the family - Non-guarantee of food safety.
increase in eating out. - High risk food.
- No hygienic and non-food - Increase of illness population.
control regulation on
- Eating habit change to the
Nutrition - Malnutrition - Intake of nutrients which are
condition - Mal-calories harmful to body.
- Mal-micro-nutrient - Decrease of malnutrition
- Over-nutrition - Increase of over-nutrition
Source: National Food Nutrition Policy 1997 cited in Varanyanond, 2000
4.1.3 Threats and risks to aquatic resources
Loss of biodiversity and decrease of aquatic resources
The catch of Giant Catfish has declined over the last 7 years while the price of
fish has increased rapidly, reaching more than $2,000 for a single fish. In
1990, the largest catches in recent years, 65 individuals were registered on the
Thai side of the river. In 1996, only 6-8 individuals were netted. This year the
count was 5. The Giant Catfish then was served on the lunch or dinner tables
Before the construction of a dam in Northeast Thailand, there was a large-
scale fishery for the trans-boundary long distance migrating Pangasius
macronema at Pak Mun. After the construction of the dam, a series of more
than 50 rapids that were important spawning grounds for P. macronema, were
flooded. This led to the reduction in the size of the P. macronema fishery
About 265 fish species were recorded in Pak Mun before the dam
construction. After the construction of dam, only 96 fish species have been
found upstream of the dam and of those, 51 fish species have reduced in
abundance. The dam construction has caused the upstream extinction of long
distance trans-boundary migratory species, which previously returned annually
to spawn in the rapids (MRC, 2003).
Establishment of the Nam Pong reservoir, Northeast Thailand can deplete
upstream riverine fish populations, e.g., number of fish species reduced from
79 pre-impoundment to 55 post-impoundment (Interim CCI of the LMB,
New technology of fishing gear employed in the area can be harmful and
affect fishery abundance. Beach seine net was used in the lower Mun River
when the water level started to decrease. This type of fishing gear can collect
all sizes of fish thus; the fish were caught even before they reach maturity. The
government should provide regulation on using beach seine net in the area.
Maintening the fish habitat is better than releasing fish to the river (Chaengkij
et al., 2004).
The article, entitled “many species robbed of spawning grounds”, was published in
the Bangkok Post Newspaper on June 11, 2002. This article reviewed the impacts
of Pak Mun dam construction in Ubon Ratchathani on river ecology and livelihoods
of villagers. The paper was written based on the information from (1) research
studied by institutes and universities such as Thailand Institute of Science and
Technological Research (TISTR), Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand,
Chulalongkorn University's Social Research Institute, and Ubon Ratchathani
University, and (2) interviews from dam protesters and villagers. Two studies on
the impacts of Pak Mun dam, still incomplete, agree that the dam created a severe
impact on river ecology leading to a decline in the number of fish species. Before
the dam construction, the dam protesters claimed more than 250 fish species in the
Mun River but after the construction, only 154 fish species are recorded by the
study (Kongrut, 2002).
Aquatic resources in Nam Pong Basin were affected by the construction of
reservoir. The downstream fishery suffered a modest loss of 240 tons per
annum. Soil deterioration has increased erosion which resulted in the
deposition of 2x106 tons per year of sediments in the reservoir. Wildlife
habitat and forests have been reduced due to land clearing. However,
waterfowl is considered as a benefit gained from the dam compared to 15
years ago. In addition, crop production is better at present (Interim CCI of the
A reduction in agriculture production was recorded due to expansion of urban
and industrial developments resulting to loss of good quality rice lands (FAO,
Poor water quality:
Use of pesticide and fertilizer is another threat from agriculture to the aquatic
resources. In Thailand, the whole country data shows the use of pesticide. It
increased from 37,433 metric tones in 1993 to 47,681 metric tones in 1995
(FAO, 2002 (FAOSTAT Agriculture) cited in MRC, 2003). In the Korat
Plateau, there is high intensity of fertilizer use that leads to ground and surface
water contamination (MRC-EP Water Quality data cited in MRC, 2003).
Water pollution from domestic wastewater and untreated sewage that is
directly discharged into canals and rivers throughout the Basin, particularly
near urban centers, to tributaries close to urban centers in Northeast Thailand,
(Khon Kaen) is reported (Interim CCI of the LMB, 1992).
In May 1992, there was pollution incident in Pong, Chi and Mun Rivers.
Approximately, 83 species of fish amounting to 20 metric tons in Mun River
were destroyed. The study showed that the ecological condition of Mun River
was still appropriate for livelihood at that time. Pollution has a major impact
on fishery resource and activities in the river and thus, there is a need for
further prevention and control program to protect the fishery resources in the
river (Duangsawasdi and Duangsawasdi, 1992).
Poor soil quality:
Soil quality decreased after burning or degradation of the forest cover because
of shifting cultivation. Shifting cultivation is being done on lands cleared by
logging. Rainfed crops are used and yields are high for the first few years
because of the nutrients released by burning the forest. However, soil fertility
dropped rapidly after few seasons (Strategy study by LMB: strategy and action
plan by MRC 2000 cited in MRC 2003).
4.2 Spatial / Season/ Time
A study found that about one thousand Thai fishermen demand the permanent
decommissioning of the Pak Mun Dam and most fishermen want the dam to be opened during
fish spawning season, May to September (Kongrut, 2002).
There is big gap of water availability in Thailand between the wet seasons (85%) and dry
seasons (15%) (Do, 2002). Flood is mostly expected during the wet seasons except the
Droughts occur annually during the dry season from March to April. In 1997, droughts
occurred in 63 provinces, affecting 24,804 villages, 3,011,601 families or 14,394,322
individuals, and about 414,313 hectares of agricultural area (Thailand Country Report,
Flood, the most frequently occurring disaster in Thailand, happens during monsoon
season (June-September), causing damage to property more than any other kind of
disaster (Thailand Country Report, 1999).
Duration and extent of major floods are shown in Figure 3. Flooding is a part of the
natural cycle of the Mekong River. The map shows flood prone areas based on the
maximum extent of inundation during a major flood, (a 1 in 20 year event) as well as the
estimated duration of inundation during a medium intensity flood (a 1 in 5 year event).
The flood extent data was derived by the MRC from Radarsat images at three dates in
2000 and from field surveys conducted by MRC. The estimation of durations were
developed using an hydraulic model simulation of the flooding that occurred in 2001 and
was verified with Radarsat imagery and field surveys conducted by MRC. In Thailand,
flood duration is very important especially for fishery and other agriculture activities.
Study found that usually, flood duration in Northeast Thailand is less than one month and
the most affected provinces are Mahasarakham, Roi Et, Yasothon, Si Saket, Ubon
Ratchthani, Surin, Sakhon Nakhon and Nakhon Phanom etc. (MRC, 2002 cited in Social
Atlas of LMB, 2003).
Figure 3: Duration and extent of major floods of Thailand (in the circle)
4.3 Assessment Methods Reviewed
Specific methodologies to assess the threats
i) Study of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of Nam Pong Project
was carried out in Northeast Thailand. The project findings are based on
the series of working documents (14 studies) that have been done in the
area (Interim CCI of the LMB, 1979).
ii) The risk of a disaster was related to three components: the hazard, the
vulnerability of society, structures and the environment to it, and how well
the hazard and vulnerabilities are managed. The study was carried in three
steps using questionnaire survey. Firstly, the respondents were asked to
assess each hazard that may cause a disaster (1). Secondly, they were
asked questions about things that might be vulnerable to each hazard (2).
Lastly, they will consider how each hazard and the vulnerabilities to the
hazard are managed in Thailand (3). The risk will be analyzed with this
equation: Risk = (1) x (2) x (3). The order of importance of each hazard in
Thailand was ranked in the following order: flood, major accidents,
explosion, typhoon, drought, fire, landslide, earthquake, civil unrest,
refugee influx, pests, and epidemics, respectively. The methodology as
proposed in 1994 was very simple for a complicated problem like
estimating the risk of the threat (APDC, 1994).
iii) Physical and chemical parameters of water were studied by Chookajorn et
al. (1988) through direct sampling of the water. It was conducted in
January, May, and September in 1987. Three sampling points in the
reservoir were selected. The pollution level was assessed.
iv) The Tsunami disaster may have been the biggest hazard faced by Thailand
so far costing thousands of lives and damaging property of millions of
dollars. The estimation of damages and assessment of risks studies and
socio-economic-based studies like loss of fishery livelihoods and losses in
tourism sector can be carried out with GIS/ RS and GPS systems.
Furthermore, to assess threats and risks to people, people’s livelihoods, food security and
aquatic resources, the integration of methodologies that were used to assess dependence
of people on aquatic resource can also be used ,i.e. integration of socio-economic survey
and Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA).
Some indicators that were listed in the part of “dependence of people on aquatic
resources” can also be used as indicators for threats, i.e. biological indicators for fishery
research (Water quality, biodiversity and abundance of aquatic resources, distribution of
aquatic resources, weight and Length Relationship, and stomach content analysis of fish)
and Socio-economic indicators for fishery research (fishery income, fishing gear types
used and fishing activity, fish catch, Catch Per Unit of Effort (CPUE), and fishermen’s
The major environmental and socio-economic indicators used for Nam Pong Project for
environmental impact study were: (1) water (hydro-power, water supply); (2) land (soil);
(3) air; (4) man (living space, socio-economic status); (5) aquatic biota (lake fishery,
downstream fishery, and water fowl); and (6) land biota (crops, wildlife, and forests).
Factors including annual rainfall, size of watershed, side slopes of watershed, gradient of
river and stream, drainage density, type of soil and land use, communication line and
infrastructures, and population density were considered for rating the degree of hazard
4.5 Data Availability
The secondary data is available from the authentic sources like
UN database for Thailand
Interim CCI of the LMB, 1979; 1992
FAO/FIVIMS Technical Sub-Committee Report, 2004
MRC Report, 2003
These sources can be used in future studies related to the MRC Vulnerability Assessment
in Lower Mekong Basin of Thailand.
4.6 Gaps in Information
Gaps in information about threats were analyzed after the literatures were reviewed.
Comments from participants of national and regional workshop and international expert
were also added (Table 11 in an Appendix). The details of all gaps are as follows:
1) No specific methodology was detected to accurately assess the threat in the
undergoing review. Establishment of clear methodologies to determine threats to
and dependency on aquatic resources is needed. What methodologies should be
established to determine the threats and the dependency of people to aquatic
2) The review should include information about water level to determine abundance
of aquatic resources in the water column as well as the level of waste. There is a
need to gather more information especially regarding water levels at different
seasons. How does water level affect the abundance of aquatic resources and the
level of wastes? What kind of wastes contribute to the pollution of water body?
3) There is lack of information about land encroachment. Encroachment is a political
issue. Rich people have the capacity to convert public resources to private use.
This is a question of equity. Should the Thai vulnerability assessment explore
conflict over property rights? What are the dimensions of conflicts over land and
water use for people who are dependent on aquatic resources?
4) There was little literature reviewed about industrial wastes on and pollution of
water, and impacts on water quality, especially drinking water. Non-point
pollution is also not pointed out in the review. Some questions needed to be
clarified. To what degree are people dependent upon aquatic resources affected by
pollution in the Mekong and its tributaries? Which communities do not have
access to safe drinking water?
The major issues came up in the studies are pollution of the water and environment
causing threat to aquatic resources, animals and people. Many impacts from construction
of dams are found in the literature review. The government should come up with policies
to keep the human rights of the villagers during the construction of big dams and water
projects. Construction-related blasting of the aquatic resource project have many negative
impacts such as, (i) project construction may destroy villagers' livelihoods, (ii) villagers
suffered physical and mental heath problems, (3) community disintegration, and (4) lack
of participation and disclosure of information .
4.8 Conclusions for threats
This grey literature review presented threats to people and their livelihoods such as
impacts from decrease in aquatic resources, which is the main source of food and income
especially of fishermen who live in the LMB, and impacts from construction of dams and
reservoir to their livelihoods. The occurrence of flood and drought and conflicts in the use
of natural resources were identified as threats to people’s livelihoods in the LMB. Threats
and risks to food security/ insecurity were experienced due to poverty, food production,
distribution and human consumption and development project, i.e. Lam Takong Pump
Storage Hydropower Project were studied. Threats and risks to aquatic resources such as
loss of biodiversity and decrease of aquatic fauna, poor quality of water and soil were also
Some specific methods were demonstrated such as Environmental Impact Assessment
(EIA), risk assessment using questionnaire, water sampling to monitor water quality, and
some methods that were used to assess dependence of people on aquatic resources can
also be used to assess threats. Integration of methods was suggested. It is necessary that
people who will design the methodology and steps should have experiences and
knowledge about the potential methods.
Many studies presented the impacts of dam construction to people and their livelihoods as
well as effect resulting to reduction of aquatic resources.
The analysis of gaps in information shows that there is no specific methodology to assess
the threats. Information about water level to determine abundance of aquatic resources in
the water column as well as the level of waste should be studied. Information on land
encroachment and industrial wastes and pollution should also be added.
5. VULNERABILITY OF PEOPLE
5.1 Types of vulnerability
The types of vulnerabilities included in the study are (1) food insecurity and malnutrition,
(2) livelihood vulnerability, and (3) biophysical vulnerability.
5.1.1 Food insecurity and malnutrition
For many years now, Thailand has been the world's largest agricultural producer and net
food exporter. Despite this status, malnutrition problem still exists especially in the rural
areas where access to food is difficult due to poverty and food distribution problems, i.e.,
iron deficiency, protein and calorie malnutrition, iodine deficiency (Oliver, 2000).
The food insecurity exists when people do not at all times have physical, social and
economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary
requirements and food preferences for an active and healthy life (FAO, 1999a). Thailand
was classified in the prevalence category of 20 to 34% undernourished (FAO, 2004).
5.1.2 Livelihood vulnerability
The livelihood strategy showed the group of vulnerable people. The vulnerable people in
the LMB can be identified by studying the status of their major livelihood. The major
livelihood in the northeast of Thailand is agriculture (including forest and fishery) and
5.1.3 Biophysical vulnerability
The biophysical vulnerability includes drought and flood considering the LMB region of
Thailand. The direct loss of life by flood and drought can be reckoned but the loss of
resources including aquatic resources and damage of infrastructure resulting to long term
impacts on the livelihood of the area accompanied with post disaster diseases is difficult
5.2 Spatial / Season/ Time
The vulnerable groups of provinces are classified into 3 classes: “Most Vulnerable
Group”, “Vulnerable Group”, and “Less Vulnerable Group”. The vulnerability mapping
of provinces of Thailand is demonstrated in Figure 4 in the Appendix. Most of the
provinces in Northeast Thailand are identified to belong to the “Most Vulnerable Group”.
There are 23 provinces in the northeast region belonging to "Most Vulnerable Group".
Four out of twenty-three provinces are in the cluster of provinces with lowest per
capita/household income, highest percentage of inactive household members, with
smaller farm holdings, and agricultural land are “under mortgage” or rented under “share
of produce” arrangement. These four provinces are Yasothon, Nongbua Lamphu,
Nongkhai, and Nakhon Phanom (Figure 5 in an Appendix). Other 19 provinces out of 23
provinces are in the cluster of provinces having very low capita per household income,
with high percentage of dependent inactive members, and highest in “under mortgage”
agricultural lands. On agricultural issues, households have small lands to produce foods
or renting lands under “share of produce” arrangement. These 19 provinces are Buriram,
Surin, Sisaket, Ubon Ratchathani, Chaiyaphum, Amnat Charoen, Khonkaen, Udonthani,
Loei, Maha Sarakham, Roi Et, Kalasin, Sakon- Nakhon, Mukdahan, Lampang, Uttaradit,
Phrae, Phayao, and Sukhothai (Figure 6 in an Appendix) (FIVIMS, 2004).
The occurrence of food insecurity problem is influenced by the peripheral conditions.
During normal years, the poor villager can get enough food with lower cost but in the
abnormal years (natural calamities, emergency situation, etc.), the poor people cannot
afford the high-priced food stuff due to the reduction in local food grain production
Over 90% of the poor households live in rural villages. The rate of rural poverty is 10-
35% higher than the national averages in Thailand (MRC, Report, 2003). Poverty and
gender related issues are prevalent. They occur anytime during the year.
5.3 Assessment Methods Reviewed
5.3.1 Food insecurity and malnutrition
The methodology proposed to measure the nutritional status by The Sixth World Food
Survey, are as follows (FAO, 1999a):
Calculating the total number of calories available from local food production,
trade and stocks
Calculating an average minimum calories requirement for the total population
based on the number of calories needed by different age and gender groups,
and the proportion of the population each group represents.
Dividing the total number of calories available by the number of people in the
Factoring in a coefficient for distribution to take account of inequality in
access to food.
Combining this information to construct the distribution of the food supply
within the country. This will provide the percentage of the population whose
food intake falls below the minimum requirements.
Multiplying this percentage by the size of the population to obtain the number
of undernourished people.
The methodology proposed by the Sixth World Food Survey is very much useful to
estimate the number of undernourished people in the country. This concept can be used
for province or district level studies to identify areas where people are undernourished.
A number of methodologies have been used to fulfill the specific purposes of the studies
as summarized below:
Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping System
(FIVIMS)-FAO framework and operational procedures was developed to
integrate information system on food insecurity and vulnerability by creating
a mechanism of sharing and inter-agency coordination aimed at improving
utilization of information for decision-making and action programs at the
national and local levels (FAO/Asia FIVIMS, 2001).
A multivariate and exploratory data analysis can be used in the assessment. It
includes 4 steps: (a) Preparing the data, (b) Principal Component Analysis
(using ADDATI Software package), (c) clustering (using ADDATI Software
package), and (d) mapping the classification (using TNT-MIPS software).
Food insecurity study was carried out by comparing two extreme cases, the
extremely poor province (Surin) and the rich province (Nakhon Ratchasima)
(Konjing, 1991) or by comparing the previous years’ socio-economic surveys
for getting a clear trend of factors (Deolalikar, 2002).
The food security of a farm household can be represented by the difference
between total calories (Kcal) and/or protein per family per year needs and
total supply (Thongthap, 2002)
Study was undertaken to develop the relationship using economic models
between household expenditures on food and income by different income
classes and by location such as rural and urban areas (Sirikasamsap, 1991).
Income level can be computed to the upper and lower limits of poverty
threshold using the consumption (expenditure) pattern and income level of the
average family of the nation, with the assumption that consumption level is
generally influenced by the level of income (Krongkaew, 1978).
The study of Krongkaew (1978) attempted to reach an income level that can
be computed to the upper and lower limits of poverty threshold by using the
consumption (expenditure) pattern and income level of the average family of
the nation as the basis. The study uses random survey data of incomes and
expenses of families in 1968 to 1969 collected by the National Statistics
Office. The assumption stating "the income earned by a family determines its
consumption expenses" was set.
Following definition and method of Chaudhuri (2000), Bidani and Richter
(2001), noted as B&R 2001, attempted to derive and analyze the first
vulnerability profile of Thailand. They apply the Feasible Generalized Least
Square (FGLS) method to estimate the mean and variance of log
consumption, which then be used to estimate the vulnerability of each
household. Three choices of vulnerability thresholds between 0 and 1 are
selected with an investigation of the sensitivity of each threshold: a threshold
0.5, the average probability of being poor each year, and the fixed threshold at
the initial poverty rate in 1996 (Bidani and Richter 2001 cited in Piboolsravut,
5.3.2 Livelihood vulnerability
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD, 2002) approach to reduce
poverty in Asia, targets the enhancement of women's agency to promote gender equality,
agricultural development and social transformation in remote or isolated areas. The
priority areas for this strategic approach were the less favored areas - the remote uplands
and mountains, the marginal coastal areas, and the unreliably watered dry lands.
The National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) in its fifth plan (1982-
1986) used a three-stage process for identifying poverty villages (Panpiemras and
Firstly, they classified the regions as either advanced or backward. Except for the
central region, the other three regions were considered as backward regions.
Secondly, NESDB conducted the identification of the poverty districts using
questionnaires to explore the poverty index such as population size, holding size
per family, major crops and their yields, and the ratio of area under rain-fed paddy
to total cultivable areas.
The third step was to identify the villages. This was left to the discretion of the
District Development Committee by using the spot check list of some 500 villages
made by the NESDB as a guide.
Some methods that can be used to identify the poverty groups, which may reveal the
livelihood vulnerable groups, were identified. However, there is no specific methodology
identified for studying the livelihood vulnerability status in the LMB region of Thailand.
Studies concerning the Livelihood strategies of the vulnerable group can be carried out in
two ways; informal and formal. By these methods, the vulnerable group can be identified
Informal information gathering method
This method capitalized on the wealth of knowledge and experience available
within most countries. It is relatively quick and easy to use. The steps are as
National Brainstorming Session: The session would bring together
stakeholders and other persons knowledgeable about food security issues
within the region or country. Broad identification of the vulnerable group by
ecological zone and administrative unit can be done.
Validation and Refinement of Brainstorming Session Results: Following an in
depth analysis of secondary literature and interview with key informants, the
vulnerable groups are classified and grouped according to the main source of
Assembly of minimum information is set for each group. The literature review
and interviews may provide all of the information needed to fill up the model
formats. Rapid appraisal surveys may follow to obtain the missing
Formal survey method
The formal method relied on fieldwork as the main instrument for obtaining
needed information. The initial steps are aimed primarily at gathering the
information necessary for establishing the sampling frame for the field
surveys. The method can be carried out as follows:
Secondary Literature Review and Key Informants Interviews: The analysis of
these sources is expected to generate sufficient information to permit
clustering of non-contiguous geographical areas within the country into fairly
Validation of Preliminary Findings through National Brainstorming Session:
This session is conducted with a group of national food security experts and
leads to a first identification of the kinds of vulnerable or food insecure groups
likely to be found in each homogeneous zone.
Establishment of a Sampling Frame: The sampling frame is established on the
basis of the characteristics of each homogeneous zone, and the vulnerable and
food insecure people expected to be found there. Fieldwork instruments are
also designed at this stage.
Fieldwork: Surveys are conducted in every homogeneous zone in the country
to determine who in each zone is vulnerable or food insecure, what their
immediate needs are, and what are the vulnerability factors to be addressed.
Once the surveys have been completed and the data has been processed and
analyzed, both area-based and group-based profiles are prepared at various
levels of aggregation, depending on need.
5.3.3 Biophysical vulnerability
The biophysical vulnerability includes the vulnerability of the livelihood and resources
caused by various hazards such as soil erosion, land slide, flood, drought, tsunami,
cyclone etc. The major studies concerning the biophysical vulnerability in the northeast
region are based on flood and drought.
Manuta (2004) developed a methodology to study the vulnerability level of flood in
Thailand. The study tried to examine: (1) How are floods affecting the assets and
livelihood of the people and how do poor and vulnerable households perceive and
respond to flood risks?, (2) What are the views of the various stakeholders with regards to
the causes of flooding, and what responses for reducing the risks and sharing the losses do
they consider effective and fair? and (3) What are the current regulatory and other
institutional arrangements for preventing floods’ sharing of risks and losses. The study
was carried out in three major steps: i) Review of related and relevant literature; ii)
Regional and national discourses and institutions and iii) Local case studies of flood risk
Various flood (Jarupongsakul et al., 2000) and drought (Mongkolsawat et al., 2000) risk
maps were produced using the GIS, RS and weighting method for the whole Thailand.
These maps showed the risk of the hazards to the livelihood and resources. The study is
generally carried out by dividing the whole area into zones of the highest risk to no risk
areas or risk for specific resources (e. g. Shrimp farming risk area by Pramojanee et al.
(Undated)) and lives.
The risk of a disaster is related to the three components: the hazard, the vulnerability of
society, structures and the environment to it and how well the hazard and vulnerabilities
are managed. There were 3 steps for questionnaire and estimation as follows:
Firstly, the respondents were asked to assess each hazard that may cause a
Secondly, they were asked questions about things that might be vulnerable to
Finally, they will consider how each hazard and the vulnerabilities to the
hazard are managed in Thailand.
The risk will be analyzed with this equation: Risk = (1) x (2) X (3).
The order of importance of each hazard in Thailand was ranked in the order
of: flood, major accidents, explosion, typhoon, drought, fire, landslide,
earthquake, civil unrest, refugee influx, pests, and epidemics, respectively
Tsunami loss can be assessed using the secondary data and images from tools like GIS
and remote sensing (Teerakul et al., 2005).
5.3.4 Methods and Tools for data collection and analysis
The data collections methods used for the studies are slightly different depending on the
specific studies, with many overlapping.
The qualitative and quantitative information can be collected from a mix of
complementary methodologies including secondary data collection, focus group
discussions, key informant interviews, Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA), Rapid Rural
Appraisal (RRA), informal interviews, formal interviews, and desk review of policies and
strategies (Balakrishnan and Hopper, 2003).
There were many data analysis techniques found useful for studying the discrete and
continuous data for quantitative analysis for the studies. Regression analysis may be used
to develop the relationships and thresholds between the factors. Logistic regression
analysis-binary can be used to study the status of the parameters and in developing
relationships (Suwee et al., 2004). The technique of Extended Linear-Expenditure System
(ELES) may be employed in the quantitative analysis (Jansai, 1996). Diverse study area is
better in reflecting the status of different areas. These techniques can be used to analyze
the data collected for vulnerability studies.
Modern technologies especially GIS and remote sensing (Federal Government and the
German Committee for Disaster Reduction. 2005; Teerakul et al., 2005; Jarupongsakul et
al., 2000; Mongkolsawat et al., 2000; ADPC, 2004) can be used for studying the level of
various parameters and models for disaster mitigation and loss assessment, considering
their effect on the resources.
The indicators were selected depending on the goal of the study. Some of the indicators
were repeated as the studies are similar or continuation of the project work.
5.4.1 Food insecurity and malnutrition
In the assessment of Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping System
(FIVIMS)-FAO, the 14 indicators selected were: income and expenditure indicators that
include variables such as (1) per capita total income, (2) current income, (3) food
expenditure, (4) consumption expenditure, and (5) economically inactive households;
health indicators include (6) low birth weight, (7) protein-energy malnutrition, (8) iodine
deficiency; agricultural issues consists of (9) farm size, (10) land mortgage, (11) share in
production; Education block includes (12) Female drop out rate, (13) Male drop out rate
and (14) percent population who can read and write (FIVIMS, 2004).
The expenditure on food, to estimate level of food security, can be analyzed on the basis
of type of food stuff like cereals, fishes, meat, etc., and their nutritious level, to get
qualitative understanding of the foodstuff. Food consumption level in households can be
determined by many factors such as characteristics of community, size of household,
education level, occupation, age, gender and income of the head of family.
5.4.2 Livelihood vulnerability
The indicators used for understanding the livelihood vulnerability are more or less
indirect. The vulnerable groups are identified in terms of the main source of livelihood,
which is used to identify homogeneous sub-groups by specific livelihood strategy and the
nature of food insecurity. Indicators for Poverty like Headcount Index, Poverty Gap
Index, Severity of Poverty, and Gini Coefficient, etc. can be used to analyze the poverty
index in Thailand.
5.4.3 Biophysical vulnerability
The biophysical vulnerability is generally measured by their severity and losses to the
resources and lives. The extent and prediction of flood can be assessed in terms of the
rainfall amount and the surface undulation and infrastructure.
Drought can be assessed in terms of water deficiency, concerned with meteorological
drought (mean annual rainfall data of minimum 15 years record of 264 stations),
hydrological drought (surface water, irrigated area, density of stream within sub-
watershed and ground water yield and quality), and physical drought (spatial information
of landform, drainage condition and land use) etc. ((Mongkolsawat et al., 2000).
5.5 Data Availability
The UN Thailand has developed a database which includes statistical data in 8 categories
pertaining to specific development issues for the year 2005 such as: (i) recommended
minimum national social data set, (ii) poverty and inequality, (iii) governance and human
rights, (iv) education, (v) health, (vi) working life, (vii) family life, and (viii) environment
(Inter-Agency Support Unit, 2002). Secondary data collected by the National Statistics
Office can be used as a reliable source of data for the vulnerability assessment.
More related information is being developed by on-going vulnerability projects, like that
of the FIVIMS-FAO. Review of various publications and project reports can provide
specific data for the LMB regions for vulnerability assessments. The maps and charts
developed showing the zone of flood and drought-prone areas can be included in
developing specific studies for vulnerability.
5.6 Gaps in Information
Gaps in information about vulnerabilities were analyzed after the literatures were
reviewed. Comments from participants of national and regional workshop and
international expert were also added. The details of all gaps are as follows: Gap analysis
shown in Table 12 in an Appendix presents the information needed for Vulnerability
Assessment in the LMB in Thailand. Information needed are:
1) The secondary information used for study is sometimes not updated and the level
of reliability and accuracy has to be cross-checked. The primary data collected
about the income and expenditure may not be accurate as most of the people do
not wish to provide the accurate figures leading to inaccurate predictions. Reviews
include some concepts developed in the 80s and 90s. The concepts and methods
might be useful but the data gathered may not provide the required information for
current status. More samples have to be analyzed to represent the food security
status of whole Thailand.
2) There is a need to include local people when defining the meaning of vulnerability
because the way academic people understand it may be different from the way
local people understand it. In the national workshop, some participants have
pointed out this topic as an important step to assess vulnerability. For example,
generally, we consider the poor people who have low income as vulnerable
people. However, this poor people may not feel that they are vulnerable because
they may have other ways that do not require spending money to be able to have
food. They may have their own farms with many kinds of food available in their
3) The FIVIMS report of FAO presents an interesting system that facilitates the
collation, analysis and evaluation of relevant data that may be used to measure,
identify and monitor those who are food insecure or vulnerable, where they are
and why they are food insecure. It is a good manual prepared from broad
participation of stakeholders from all sectors in Thailand. However, the
constraints and challenges of the report are 1) "The exclusion of vulnerable
populations from non-vulnerable provinces and inclusion of less or non-
vulnerable groups in vulnerable provinces”. Using more geographically
disaggregated data, e.g., district and sub-district level indicators should be
considered because in Thailand, many provinces are not homogenous in terms of
distribution of the vulnerable and non-vulnerable. 2) "Alternatively, profiling,
locating and estimating the food insecure and vulnerable would be improved
through the use and combination of the Household Socio-economic Survey and
National Population Census data available from the National Statistics Office”. To
conduct the Vulnerability Assessment for MRC, there is a need to do a sampling
framework to answer questions about: Who are the food-insecure among the
communities dependent on aquatic resources?
4) There is a little information available about recovery, people's coping strategies,
their resilience, and their capacities. These elements should be added to the
Vulnerability Assessment conceptual model. What capacities do people have to
help them cope with stresses and shocks? How do their social networks help them
to cope and recover? What specific coping strategies do people have to cope with
shocks and stresses? Are poorer people more able to cope with shocks than better-
off people? What about situations where people suffer repeated shocks?
5) Information about transboundary, cross-cutting issues of upstream-downstream
should be reviewed more for spatial dimension.
Some of the critical issues have been identified during the review work as stated by the
researcher. Poverty, food insecurity and gender issues were discussed in the studies.
In Thailand, incomes are distributed more unequally among the rich and poor households
than most of the middle class countries. In Thailand, woman working in the public sector
tend to have income level nearly equal to men, but they earn only about 75% men’s wage
in private sector non-agricultural jobs (MRC Report, 2003). There are various constraints
and barriers to increasing women's productivity: (1) gender-insensitive policies and
programs that limit their access to credit, education and training and other government
services (2) social values and traditions that inhibit their participation in the economy (3)
lack of gender-based technology for women's work in agriculture and (4) weak
institutional mechanisms for implementing gender-focused policies (Stephens, 2002).
The income inequality between the rich and poor individual and between cities and rural
areas are the major causes of poverty and food insecurity.
5.8 Conclusions for vulnerability
Types of vulnerability were classified into three: (1) Food insecurity & malnutrition
Vulnerability, (2) Livelihood vulnerability, and (3) Biophysical vulnerability. Food
Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping Systems (FIVIMS) studied by
FAO presents that the 4 provinces, which are Yasothon, Nongbua Lamphu,
Nong Khai, and Nakhon Phanom are in the most vulnerable group.
Many methodologies were reviewed but the appropriate methodology, which is the most
related to the MRC Vulnerability Assessment focusing on food security of people in
Thailand, is the FIVIMS method. However, the indicators used in the FIVIMS method
may not be in the MRC VA scope therefore, the results from FIVIMS should be verified
again when conducting the MRC VA.
Another methodology such as expenditure and food consumption survey should be
considered. The results from this method can give information about the degree of people
dependent on aquatic resources.
Gaps in information about vulnerability assessment are: lack of updated data, local people
involvement in defining the meaning of vulnerability (who is food insecure and where are
they?), people's coping strategies and their capacities, trans-boundary, and cross-cutting
issues of upstream- downstream.
5.9 Specific Summary for Proposed vulnerability study
Vulnerability study covers wide aspects ranging from food security to various gender and
poverty issues. The food security can be achieved by reducing the gap between the
income level of poor and rich individuals as well as between provinces or regions. The
guidelines suggested by the FIVIMS can be very useful for reliable data creation for
vulnerable analysis. The methodologies like regression analysis, use of modern
technologies like GIS and remote sensing can provide the required platform for the
assessment studies and decision-making. The women of rural villages are poor unlike
their counter parts in the cities and this requires special attention. The UN Thailand
database can be used as an authorized source of secondary data for studying the impact of
various factors. The qualitative and quantitative information can be collected from a mix
of complementary methodologies including secondary data collection, focus group
discussions, key informant interviews, PRA, informal interviews, and desk review of the
policies and strategies. Monitoring the success of every policy and measure implemented
should be carried out by neutral management groups.
6. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
This chapter presents the main findings of the reviews carried out for the LMB region of
Thailand as well as for the whole of Thailand.
People and their livelihoods depend on aquatic resources in many ways. Land use,
especially for agricultural activity such as rice plantation, other crop plantations,
aquaculture, and livestock are some of the major activities of people on the Lower
Mekong Basin. People use water for many purposes, i.e. agriculture, hydropower,
transportation and trade, aquaculture, collection of fish and aquatic fauna, and
recreational fisheries. Flood plain utilization was another important activity showing how
people depend on aquatic resources. There is no specific information to answer the
question of where and when people depend on aquatic resource. Generally, all activities
of the people that depend on aquatic resources can be done whole year round. However,
the amount of fish caught may vary from season to season.
Many studies present that impacts from dam construction was considered as common
threats to people and their livelihoods. The occurrence of flood and drought, and
conflicts in the use of natural resources were also identified as threats to people’s
livelihoods in the LMB. Threats and risks to food security/ insecurity are due to poverty,
food production, distribution and human consumption, and development projects. Threats
and risks to aquatic resources such as loss of biodiversity and decrease of aquatic fauna,
poor quality of water, and soil were also identified.
Various relevant databases came out during the review work for the LMB region of
Thailand can be utilized in the future studies. The key databases are:
MRC Report, 2003
UN database for Thailand
Interim CCI of the LMB, 1979; 1992
FAO/FIVIMS Technical Sub-Committee Report, 2004
Thailand MDG report, 2004
State of Food Insecurity in the World 2004 (FAO)
The survey by FIVIMS (2004) found that there are 23 provinces in the northeast region
belonging to "the most vulnerable group of provinces". Four out of twenty-three
provinces, which are Yasothon, Nongbua Lamphu, Nong Khai, and Nakhon Phanom, are
in the cluster of provinces with lowest per capita/household income, highest percentage of
inactive household members, with smaller farm holdings, and agricultural land are “under
mortgage” or rented under “share of produce” arrangement.
Many results from the grey literature review and also from the FIVIMS leads to the
conclusion that food insecurity mainly appears as an issue for the poor people in the north
and northeast of Thailand.
The study can collect a lot of information in general about dependence, threats, and
vulnerability in the LMB in Thailand. However, many gaps were identified during the
analysis. The prioritized gaps should be the lack of information about who depend on
aquatic resources, where they are, when they depend, how they depend, and why they
depend. Gaps in information about vulnerability should also be focused to answer the
questions: Who is food insecure and where are they? Information about people’s
livelihoods is also needed.
To select the methodologies that can answer those questions, the study found that
appropriate methodology, which is the most related to the MRC Vulnerability Assessment
focusing on food security of people in Thailand, is the FIVIMS method. However, the
indicators used in the FIVIMS method may not fit in the MRC VA scope therefore; the
results from FIVIMS should be verified again when conducting the MRC VA. Another
methodology such as expenditure and food consumption survey should also be
considered. The results from the latter method can inform us about the degree of people’s
dependency on aquatic resources.
MRC should work together with other NGOs and international organization (FAO, IFAD,
FIVIMS etc.) working in LMB of Thailand to identify the vulnerable community.
6.2 Cross-cutting analysis
A number of very useful methodologies were identified to assess the aspects, like
dependence to aquatic and agricultural resources, the risk levels of hazards and threats,
poverty situation and mitigation plans, assessment of food insecurity, vulnerability level
Nearly similar methodologies (Steps such as sampling and questionnaire surveys, data
analysis etc.) have been followed by many researchers to assess the dependence on
aquatic resources in a different study site of the region. The level of risk can be assessed
by the method proposed by ADPC, which is an assessment of the respondents followed
by simple mathematical calculations.
Food insecurity and vulnerability can be better assessed by the method proposed by
FAO/FIVIMS group. The livelihood vulnerability can be reviewed by the formal and
informal method proposed by FAO. The poverty level can be determined by fixing the
threshold and inspecting the status from national to individual level, like the one being
used by NESDB to identify the poor.
Each study included in the review has used some set of indicators to fulfill their specific
objectives and focus about the research work. There is repetition of some of the indicators
among the common objective-oriented studies. For future vulnerability assessment, some
of the indicators can be selected and integrated or slightly modified to fit the
Fourteen indicators stated by FAO/FIVIMS study for food insecurity assessment and
many other indicators found in the review can be used in future studies, i.e. biological and
socio-economic indicators for dependence on aquatic resources study,
6.3 Gap analysis
The review was carried out from the materials and publications collected from the various
resources available in Bangkok and its vicinity. Very few field (from the local offices of
the LMB of Thailand) documents were collected and included in the review. Hence,
there may be some gaps not dealt with in this study as some relevant documents for the
region may not have been reviewed. Besides, the numbers of studies conducted in the
LMB region of Thailand that are relevant to the study are also limited.
Some of the studies included in the review were carried out long time ago. Thus, the
validation of the stated methods for future study may require some modifications.
There were some gaps observed in terms of the lack of materials or relevant works
conducted in Thailand. Some of these are:
Very few work done on the assessment of threat to people and livelihood for
Thai condition and also few studies related to risk assessment
Very few documents relevant to conflicts
Few documents related to gender issues in aquatic resources
The gap analysis was shown in the appendix. Gaps in information about dependence,
threats and vulnerability were taken from the literature review, national meeting and
regional workshop. The prioritized gaps are: specific information about who depend on
aquatic resources, where they are, when they depend, how they depend and why they
depend. Gaps in information about vulnerability should also be given attention to answer
the questions: who is food insecure and where are they? There is also a need for
information about people’s livelihood.
Special attention should be given first in selecting the methodology for the study area to
achieve the target. The methodologies shown in the review can be tried for particular
requirements related to dependence of people on aquatic resources, risk and threat, and
vulnerability of people from the changes in aquatic resources in the Lower Mekong Basin
Region of Thailand.
Many data analysis tools have been used by various researchers in other places and some
others for discrete and continuous data for quantitative analysis. Some of these tools are
Food Consumption and Expenditure Survey, PRA, and RRA that can be used for the
MRC Vulnerability Assessment. The tools including GIS and RS can be used for a better
and quick analysis of the collected information.
To fill the gaps of the information found in the review, the researcher has to plan properly
before carrying out the study in the region. The study can be carried out at the macro level
before preparing for micro level studies. For example, in order to identify the vulnerable
people, the study can be carried out at the provincial level first, at the district level, at the
sub-district level, then at the village level. However, to be able to specify the scale of
study area, there is a need to consider the availability of budget and data.
The authentic sources of information should be checked before adding the new data or
collected samples for the study, which will be helpful in reducing the cost of the
experiments. Sources like previous MRC reports, FAO statistics, FAO/FIVIMS report,
and UN database, etc. can be a sound source of secondary data. Remote sensing and aerial
images can also be used in order to reduce the cost when the required spatial accuracy is
not very high. The information needed for the MRC Vulnerability Assessment will enable
the Thai National Statistics Office to consider the importance of data regarding food
security of people depending on aquatic resources.
The rapid economic growth in Thailand over the past decades has implication in changing
livelihoods and income of people depending on aquatic resources, particularly in the rural
area of the Lower Mekong Basin in Thailand. There is a need to strengthen the capacity
of local change agents. This way will enable them to be able to assess the vulnerability
and dependence on aquatic resources as well as the appropriate solutions for issues that
will be raised from the assessment.
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Wetland Alliance and the IUCN (MWPB). Enhancing awareness and local capacities
through training, pilot projects, and promotion of inter-sectoral cooperation on the
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Table 7: Comparison of methodologies for assessing people and livelihood dependence on aquatic resources
Methodology Agency or Scope/ Focus Analytical Frame work Principal Tools Resources Comments
qualitative and Sidthimunka, Fishery survey, to Sampling survey and questionnaire Total estimation of the Medium to Can be
quantitative Duangsawasdi and estimate the interview resources as felt and high beneficial for
analysis Duangsawasdi; potential of aquatic stated by the informants primary study
Chaengkij, et al.; resources of aquatic
Sampling and Sjorslev et al. level of Combined study of GIS data, sample All data was combined Medium GIS is a useful
census approach involvement of data, and village inventory data for to assess the yield by tool but the
households and habitat data should be
individuals in of good quality
Socio-economic Buergin to explore the Data collected by semi-structured Assessed by combine the Medium to Interesting
survey approach utilization of interviews and from aerial photographs whole information high survey but no
floodplain and market vendors. distinct
Integrated Pawaputanon; To obtain inland Spatial and temporal random design, port Statistical analysis using Medium to This approach
approach Nachaipherm et al.; fisheries and market samplings, and also Cluster Analysis and High can be very
information interviews and questionnaires Multidimensional beneficial to
Table 8: Comparison of methodologies for assessing threats to people, livelihoods and aquatic resources
Methodology Agency or Scope/ Focus Analytical Frame work Principal Tools Resources Comments
Risk Assessment ADPC Estimate the Risk of 1) Assess each hazard that may cause a Questionnaire survey High Can be useful
the Hazard disaster. and Mathematical with trained
2) Decide the things that might be calculation respondents
vulnerable to each hazard.
3) Decide how each hazard and the
vulnerabilities to the hazard are managed
4) Risk = (1) x (2) X (3)
Environmental Interim CCI of the Analyze the Comparative study of the status of the Analyze the changes in Medium Can be useful
Impact Assessment LMB environmental previous years Environmental and for long term
impact on the social indicators of last or big projects
project 15 years
Water quality Chookajorn Pollution status Study was carried out in 3 seasons at Direct sampling method Medium Methodology
study estimation for three sample sites is not very
Table 9: Comparison of methodologies for assessing vulnerability
Methodology Agency or Scope/ Focus Analytical Frame work Principal Tools Resources Comments
Sixth World Food FAO Measure Nutritional Undernourishment measured from Mathematical Medium The method
Survey status i) Existing data about number of people calculations can be used for
and food available. ii)Determined from province and
the data about people’s weight, height district level.
and age etc.
FIVIMS method FAO integrate (a) Preparing the data, (b) Principal multivariate and Medium Very useful for
information system Component Analysis (using ADDATI exploratory data analysis vulnerable
on food insecurity Software package), (c) clustering (using study in
and vulnerability ADDATI Software package), and (d) Thailand as
and identify the mapping the classification (using TNT- well as LMB
vulnerable group MIPS software)
Comparative study Konjing food consumption Comparison between rich and poor Analytical statistics Low Indicators like
of extreme and distribution provinces estimated food
situations patterns gap and
analysis of risk
be used in food
Comparative study Deolalikar food consumption Previous years’ socio-economic surveys Analytical statistics Medium Useful for
of extreme and distribution to construct the (sample-weighted) province level
situations patterns incidence of income-poverty (i.e., but may not
headcount ratio), mean household income be useful for
per capita, and the Gini coefficient for district levels
provinces. due to
Table 9: Comparison of methodologies for assessing vulnerability (Cont.)
Methodology Agency or Scope/ Focus Analytical Frame work Principal Tools Resources Comments
Total calories Thongthap Total calories Food security of a farm household can Regression Analysis High to very Useful method to
Estimation consumption be represented by the difference high estimate food security,
between total calories (Kcal) and/or but a lot of field work
protein per family per year is required
Economic models Sirikasamsap Provide implication Relationship between household statistical estimation High A sound discussion
and expenditures on food and income by of the Engel about food
recommendations different income classes and by equations consumption pattern
on food location (rural and town areas) of people in NE of
consumption Thailand using
programs for the economic model
Determination Krongkaew Income level As the income earned by a family Poverty index in High Old but useful
method threshold for determines its consumption, terms of income technique. Can be
poverty relationship was developed between levels; Engel ratio, modified for use in
classification consumption and income current situations
Informal method FAO Identify vulnerable National brainstorming Session, Rapid appraisal Medium Can be a useful tool
group and Validation and Refinement Results, surveys for getting quick
Livelihood in terms Assembly of minimum information set overview
of food insecurity for each group
Formal method FAO Identify vulnerable Secondary Literature Review and Key Discussions, High to very Very useful for
group and Informants, Validation of Findings Analysis and high accurate results,
livelihood in terms through Brainstorming, Sampling validation requires higher time
of food insecurity Frame setup, Fieldwork and fund consumption
Table 9: Comparison of methodologies for assessing vulnerability (Cont.)
Methodology Agency or Scope/ Focus Analytical Frame work Principal Tools Resources Comments
NESDB method Thai Government Identification of Three steps: Selection of region, Poverty index in terms High Old method ,
Poverty village Identification of districts, Identification of of population size, may be used
villages holding size per family, for selecting
major crops and their poverty
yields etc villages
IFAD method IFAD Approach to reduce Through enhancement of women's Gini Coefficient and High Very efficient
poverty agency to promote gender equality, GDP growth per capita method, can
agricultural development and social be used for
transformation in remote or isolated areas future studies
Flood governance Manuta Find the i) Review of related and relevant construct interview Medium Qualitative
vulnerability level literature; ii) Regional and national protocol, pre-test analysis
of flood discourses and institutions and iii) local instruments, and conduct
case studies of flood risk interviews
Hazard prone area Jarupongsakul et al., Detect the Collected the secondary information, and GIS, RS, Weighting Medium Modern
Mapping and Mongkolsawat et al. vulnerability areas, primary information and mapped, ground tools technology
assessment assessment of losses truthing can be used for
and future quick
prediction assessment and
Table 10: Gaps in information about dependence identified during grey literature review: Thailand
Missing Information Issue Corresponding Research Questions Possible Sources Possible
Of Information Methodological
Tools or Research
1) Information on the sources of income Need to conduct research to What is the degree of people depend on National Statistical Office Food Consumption
of people especially from aquatic examine the source of income aquatic resources as their sources of and Expense Survey
resources of people from aquatic income?
resources and none aquatic
2) Who is dependent upon aquatic resources, Need specific information about Who is dependent upon aquatic resources, and
and where are they? groups and locations before a where are they?
sampling frame can be prepared Why are they dependent?
Who depends upon floods?
3) Information about the livelihoods of There is little food insecurity in Is there concrete evidence that there is no food Dr. Prasit at Khan Kaen
people who are dependent on aquatic Thailand. The VA should focus insecurity in Thailand? University (previous PRAs and
resources more on livelihoods What are the livelihoods strategies of people case studies)?
who are dependent on aquatic resources?
4) Information on the availability of aquatic Need to conduct research What kind and how many aquatic resources are Department of Fisheries
resources in LMB in Thailand. Most of the specifically in LMB in Thailand to available in the LMB (Thailand) region?
studies for estimating the aquatic resources determine availability of aquatic
are reservoir or province-specific being resources.
carried out at different durations. It’s quite
difficult to predict the availability of the
5) Information about aquatic vegetations Need to review more literatures What kind of aquatic vegetation and their University Libraries, i.e. Kon
such as lotus, reeds and water hyacinth, etc. that contain information about quantity are being utilized by the people in Kaen University
that were used in the LMB in Thailand aquatic vegetation in LMB LMB (Thailand) region? How are these
(Thailand) region. aquatic vegetations being used?
6) Information about valuation of aquatic Need research specifically on the Based on their uses, what are the values of the
resource use and valuation of aquatic aquatic resources to the people living within
resources in LMB (Thailand) the region?
7) Information on fishery marketing and Need to identify people or groups Who are the people or groups of people
processing of people who do the processing engaged in fishery marketing and processing?
and marketing How do they depend on aquatic resources?
Table 10: Gaps in information about dependence identified during grey literature review: Thailand (Cont.)
Missing Information Issue Corresponding Research Questions Possible Sources Possible
Of Information Methodological
Tools or Research
8) Information about landowners and Need to examine link between Are landless people who depend on CPR more Dr. Prasit at Khan Kaen PRA
landless people, and their dependence on property rights and poverty/food vulnerable? University (previous PRAs and
private and common property resources insecurity Are landless people more prone to migration if case studies)?
they lose their livelihoods?
Who migrates? Why? What are migrant's
dependence on aquatic resources?
9) Gender and stage of life information Most available information is about How does gender and age affect dependence MRC gender reports? PRA; GDTC
normal conditions. There is little on aquatic resources?
information about stressful
10) Spatial/temporal information. Not much research done (only one Are there seasonal cycles of food insecurity for Government statistics?
case study found). people who depend on aquatic resources?
Not much information found about
seasonal cycles of food insecurity.
Some workshop participants felt
that there is no food insecurity in
Thailand. People are malnourished
because of their consumption
habits. This needs to be verified.
11) While many assessment methods were Training may be needed before VA Which research methods are most appropriate
found, there are no examples or experience can be carried out in Thailand for the vulnerability assessment in Thailand?
on vulnerability assessment in Thailand
12) General data needs: New version to be released in
Common Country Assessment September 2005
Table 11: Gaps in information about threats identified during grey literature review: Thailand
Missing Information Issue Corresponding Research Questions Possible Sources Possible
Of Information Methodological
Tools or Research
1) Absence of established methodology Need to establish clear What methodologies should be established to
methodologies to determine threats determine the threats and the dependency of
to and dependency on aquatic people to aquatic resources?
2) Information about water level to Need to gather more information How does water level affect the abundance of
determine abundance of aquatic resources in especially regarding water levels at aquatic resources and the level of wastes?
the water column as well as the level of different seasons What kind of wastes contribute to the
waste pollution of water body?
3) Land encroachment Encroachment is a political issue. Should the Thai vulnerability assessment
Rich people have the capacity to explore conflict over property rights?
convert public resources to private What are the dimensions of conflicts over
use. This is a question of equity. land and water use for people who are
dependent on aquatic resources?
4) Not much was reviewed in the literature Khon Kaen province probably To what degree are people dependent upon Government statistics (Pollution
about industrial wastes and pollution into worst affected aquatic resources affected by pollution in the Control Dept)
water and impacts on and water quality, Mekong and its tributaries?
especially drinking water Which communities do not have access to
safe drinking water?
Not much was reviewed on non-point
Table 12: Gaps in information about vulnerabilities identified during grey literature review: Thailand
Missing Information Issue Corresponding Research Questions Possible Sources Possible Methodological
Of Information Tools/Research
1) Available information (secondary) is not Need for more current data and What data are available? How recent are
updated affecting the accuracy and reliability of information to be more accurate have the data and information been
the data collected?
2) Definition and indicator of vulnerability Need to define vulnerability taking What are the indicators to vulnerability
into consideration the perspective assessment and what is the concept of
of the local people and indicators to vulnerability?
3) Who is food insecure and where are they? NEED SAMPLING FRAME Who is food-insecure among the FAO's FIVIMS data and
communities who are dependent on aquatic MOH data to look for
resources? provinces that are food-
4) Little information available about recovery, These elements should be added to What capacities do people have to help Rapid coping mechanism
people's coping strategies, their resilience, and our conceptual model them cope with stresses and shocks? assessment tool; PRA
their capacities How do their social networks help them to techniques
cope and recover?
What specific coping strategies do people
have to cope with shocks and stresses?
Are poorer people more able to cope with
shocks than better-off people?
What about situations where people suffer
5) Little information found about livelihoods Key element; maybe more Discuss with ILO officers
vulnerability for people who are dependent on important than food security in the in Thailand;
aquatic resources case of Thailand
6) Spatial/temporal dimensions: Need maps in the final report Where are ethnic minorities?
What are the physical boundaries related to
ethnic groups? Transboundary, cross-
cutting issues (upstream-downstream)
7) Thai national workshop participants used effect
indicators, not causal indicators
8) Only information from FAO was found in Thai Need for a sampling frame and Can FIVIMS VA methodologies used
literature review about Food security VA methods methodology appropriate for elsewhere be adapted for use in Thailand?
Figure 4: Vulnerability Mapping of Provinces (FAO/FIVIMS, 2004)
The Most Vulnerable Group of Provinces
CLASS 6: Provinces: 4, Weight: 4.80% of total population
Significantly negative main food insecurity and nutrition
The group of provinces with significantly negative health and
nutrition condition, as revealed by high percentages of low
birthweight, high prevalence of underweight 0-5 years old
children and high prevalence of iodine deficiency disorders.
Major vulnerability factors identified:
The cluster of provinces with lowest per capita/household
income, highest percentage of inactive household members,
with small farm holdings agricultural land are “under
mortgage” or rented under “share of produce” arrangement.
4 provinces belonging to this class:
Yasothon, Nongbua Lamphu, Nong Khai, and Nakhon
Figure 5: The Most Vulnerable Group of Provinces (Class 6) (FAO/FIVIMS, 2004)
The Most Vulnerable Group of Provinces
CLASS 1: Provinces: 19, Weight: 4.80% of total population
Significantly negative main food insecurity and nutrition
High prevalence of malnutrition indicated food insecurity in
Major vulnerability factors identified:
Most indicators showed negative to food security common
among the 19 provinces of the country such as very low per
capita/household income, with high percentage of dependent
inactive members, and highest “under mortgage” agricultural
lands. On agricultural issues, households have small lands to
produce foods or renting lands under “share of produce”
19 provinces belonging to this class:
Buriram, Surin, Sisaket, Ubon Ratchathani, Chaiyaphum,
Amnat Charoen, Khonkaen, Udonthani, Loei, Maha
Sarakham, Roi Et, Kalasin, Sakon Nakhon, Mukdahan,
Lampang, Uttaradit, Phrae, Phayao, and Sukhothai
Figure 6: The Most Vulnerable Group of Provinces (Class 1) (FAO/FIVIMS, 2004)