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Open AccessArticle

Assessment of Agricultural Drought Risk in the Lancang-Mekong Region, South East Asia

by 1, 2,* and 2,3
1
National Disaster Reduction Center of China, Beijing 100124, China
2
Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
3
College of Mining Engineering, North China University of Science and Technology, Tangshan 063210, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(17), 6153; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176153
Received: 14 July 2020 / Revised: 14 August 2020 / Accepted: 18 August 2020 / Published: 24 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change Adaptation and Risk Reduction)
Natural disasters worldwide regularly impact on human activities. As a frequently occurring natural disaster, drought has adverse impacts on agricultural production. The Lancang-Mekong River is a transnational river running through China and five Southeast Asian countries and it is a vital water resource for irrigation in the region. Drought in the Lancang-Mekong Region (LMR) has occurred frequently in recent years. Assessing the risk of drought in the region is essential for rational planning of agricultural production and formulation of drought relief measures. In this study, an assessment of drought risk has been achieved by combining the hazard and vulnerability assessments for drought. The assessment of the drought hazard depends mainly on the standardized precipitation index (SPI). The assessment of drought vulnerability takes into account various indicators such as climatic factors (e.g., crop water stress index), soil factors (e.g., available water capacity), and irrigation factors (e.g., irrigation support). The results reveal that: (1) Drought distribution in the LMR is characterized by a spreading of the drought to countries along the middle and lower reaches of the Mekong River. Countries located in the middle and lower reaches of the Mekong River are more prone to drought. Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia are the regions with higher and high-drought risk levels. (2) The spatial distributions for the drought hazard and the drought vulnerability in the LMR exhibit significant differences as evidenced in the mapping results. High-hazard and high-vulnerability areas are mainly distributed in the middle LMR, and the middle to higher hazard areas and the middle to higher vulnerability areas are mainly distributed in the south-central LMR, while the low-hazard areas and the low-vulnerability areas are mainly in the north. (3) The majority of planting areas for sugarcane, rice, and cassava are located in the high-hazard areas. The distributions of drought-prone and high-hazard areas also correspond to the main agricultural areas in the LMR. View Full-Text
Keywords: natural disaster; agricultural drought risk; hazard; vulnerability; Lancang-Mekong Region natural disaster; agricultural drought risk; hazard; vulnerability; Lancang-Mekong Region
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Zhang, L.; Song, W.; Song, W. Assessment of Agricultural Drought Risk in the Lancang-Mekong Region, South East Asia. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 6153.

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