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Projects in Mekong & Chao Phraya

The Mekong and the Chao Phraya are major rivers flowing through the Indochinese Peninsula in Southeast Asia. The inhabitants of the Mekong and Chao Phraya basins have largely relied on natural resources for their livelihood. Due to recent socioeconomic development in the region, however, the natural environment, biodiversity in particular, is being rapidly threatened. Several endemic species, including world-famous Mekong giant catfish (Pangasianodon gigas), have already been endangered. Concurrently, the people’s traditional lifestyle, which depends on local products, is faced with difficulties.

Changes of the riparian environment in the regions are expected, and consequently will affect their living organisms. It is obvious that actions such as extensive surveys on the current status of fauna and flora are urgently needed for the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.

In order to cope with such circumstances, the NEF launched the Comprehensive Programme for Conservation Research and Activities in 2006. As the first phase of the programme, entitled “People, Ecosystem, and Wise Use of Natural Resources in the Mekong-Chao Phraya Region: Basic Study of the Aquatic Fauna and Flora and Conservation Activities with Participation of Local Residents,” the NEF conducted surveys to gather scientific information on riparian fauna and flora and conservation activities together with local residents from 2006 to 2011. The second-phase of the programme, entitled “Biodiversity Conservation and Wise Use of Natural Resources in the Mekong-Chao Phraya Region,” has been under way since 2011. The main activities of this phase are to report the results of the first phase to the public, further promote environmental education for the local people, construct practical models for conservation activities with local communities, and develop intimate cooperation among local communities and national/international organisations.

In this programme, a number of local scientists and inhabitants have participated in scientific and conservation activities, together with experts of the NEF and other organisations. Their on-site collaboration is expected to contribute to capacity building and the empowerment of – and technology transfer to – those participants.



Participating Organisations

Thailand Kasetsart University, Bangkok
Maejo University, Chiang Mai
Srinakharinwirot University, Bangkok
Ubon Ratchathani University, Ubon Ratchathani
Vietnam Can Tho University, Can Tho
Lao PDR National University of Laos, Vientiane
Namxouang Aquaculture Development Center, Namxouang
Cambodia Inland Fisheries Research and Development Institute, Phnom Penh
Japan Japan Wildlife Research Center
Network of Asian Rural Communities
NPO Field Research



Main Activities

Major activities and accomplishments in the first phase (2006 to 2011)

  • Research on fish fauna and spatial distribution in the Mekong-Chao Phraya Region producing:
    • Fish specimens preserved in alcohol/formaldehyde for scientific and educational purposes
    • Databases of fish specimens and digital-image photographs
    • Identification sheets of fishes in the Indochinese Mekong (in English)
    • Coloured posters, showing fishes found in the respective countries
  • Surveys on the current situation of aquatic animals and plants consumed by local people
  • Environmental education for elementary school students in Lao PDR
  • Presentation of the first phase findings at international symposia in the respective countries


Major activities planned for the second phase (2011 to 2016)

  • Publicising the accomplishments as:
    • Field guidebooks of fishes for the respective countries (in local languages and English)
    • Pictorial book of fishes in the Mekong-Chao Phraya Region as a whole (in English)
    • Scientific articles in international and/or other scientific journals
    • Web database on aquatic fauna and flora
    • Pictorial books of edible aquatic fauna and flora (in English and Japanese)
  • Conducting further research and conservation activities
    • Environmental education for elementary and junior high school students in Lao PDR
    • Scientific surveys on particular issues identified in the first phase programme
    • Surveys on the current state of distribution of aquatic organisms, in collaboration with local government officers, researchers, and residents

Database and field guides resulting from this programme are available at Publication & Documents.



Project Reports & Deliverables

  • In preparation.


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Nagao Natural Environment Foundation
4-20-9 Midori, Sumida-ku
Tokyo 130-0021 Japan
Phone : +81-3-6659-2070
Fax : +81-3-6659-2272