LUCCi - Land Use and Climate Change Interactions in Central Vietnam
Pioneers in Central Vietnam.

Vietnam is considered to be one of the Asian tiger economies due to the fact that its economy has been booming non-stop for years. However, this economic boom has brought about certain disadvantages for the landscape and for nature. For this reason German and Vietnamese researchers have decided to develop strategies for sustainable land and water uses in Central Vietnam. These are urgently required, because there is a strong resources pressure on the region and it might additionally suffer from the impacts of climate change.

Blood-sucking leaches, annoying mosquitoes, high temperatures and largely inaccessible areas – research in the montane forests of Central Vietnam is a sweltering undertaking and not everybody’s cup of tea and yet the PhD graduate biologist Claudia Rädig loves her job. She is a scientist from the Cologne University of Applied Sciences and won’t let anything stop her from ploughing her way through montane and mangrove forests to identify different tree species. »The mountainous regions of Vietnam belong to some of the most species-rich regions of the world and yet data is still lacking for the region«, says the scientist. Where are certain tree species found? What is the height and diameter of the trees? How often do individual tree species occur? Dr. Rädig intends to close this knowledge with her investigations along with scientists from the Hue University for land and forestry as well as local rangers in the project region of approx. 12,000 square kilometers (an area 14 times the size of Berlin). Claudia Rädig is not the only German researcher currently working on the narrow Central Vietnamese land strip that wants to unravel the secrets of nature here. »Land Use and Climate Change interactions in central Vietnam« (in short LUCCi) is the research project, for which a German-Vietnamese team of researchers has formed a cooperation in the catchment area of the two rivers Vu Gia and Thu Bon. The scientists come from a wide range of disciplines, ranging from agro-forestry, climate research, hydrology and water management to social and political sciences.
They have until June 2015 to come up with some strategies as to how Central Vietnam can prepare itself in terms of land, forest and water management against the potential impacts of climate change. The Federal Ministry of Research is funding them with four million Euros in the form of a five-year project.
The project is headed by Lars Ribbe, Professor for Integrated Land and Water Resources Management at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences Institute for Technology and Resources Management in the Tropics and Subtropic, ITT. His goal: »We want to develop strategies for the sustainable use of water and land resources for the region that balance social, economic and ecological requirements « he says.
The research results are urgently required in Vietnam because unlike in Germany, where climate change still seems so far away and so abstract for many people, the dangers are very imminent for this Southeast Asian country. Vietnam ranks among those countries of the world that could suffer enormously from the impacts of global warming according to projections by the Vietnamese Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE).
It is thought that the annual average temperature will rise by approx. 1.5 degrees by the year 2020, the amount of precipitation during the monsoon will increase by up to 19 per cent by 2070, and during the dry season the ministry expects a clear increase in droughts. Danger also looms from the sea: according to the statistics from MONRE, the sea level could rise by 40 centimeters by the year 2050. But in order to compute scientific models and scenarios and consequently develop strategies, first and foremost it is scientific groundwork that is required. Basic data, like that for example which Claudia Rädig is laboriously collecting on trees, is either missing for this region or does not comply with the standards that the international researcher community is used to working with. While the south and north of Vietnam have been relatively well investigated, the middle of the country has not yet been in the spotlight of global science. In this respect, the researchers working in the LUCCi project are regarded as pioneers in this area.

Within the LUCCi project several datasets about climate change and agriculture have been collected and will be created. An overview of the resulting datasets can be reviewed in the application below.

Further information

Detailled information are available on the project website:
The LUCCi science portait and a short project description is available on the
Sustainable Land Management Website.
Detailled information about LUCCi datasets and web services are available in the
GLUES metadata catalog.