Large-scale environmental degradation results in inequitable impacts to already impoverished communities: A case study from the floating villages of Cambodia



Cambodian subsistence communities within the Tonle Sap Great Lake area rely on resource extraction from the lake to meet livelihood needs. These fishing communities—many of which consist of dwellings floating on the lake—face potentially profound livelihood challenges because of climate change and changing hydrology due to dam construction for hydroelectricity within the Mekong Basin. We conducted interviews across five village communities, with local subsistence fisher people in the Tonle Sap in 2015, and used thematic analysis methods to reveal a fishery system that is undergoing rapid ecological decline, with local fishing communities increasingly experiencing reductions in available fish stocks. As a result, over 100 000 people living in these communities are experiencing a direct loss of well-being and livelihood. We discuss these losses and consider their implications for the future viability of Cambodian floating village communities.


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Green Fire Science