Land use change dynamics, its drivers and consequences in the Ca Mau province, Mekong delta, Vietnam

Hanh Tran Hong

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis


Land cover/land use in the Tran Van Thoi District - a flat, low-lying, coastal and rural district of the Ca Mau Province, the southernmost province of the lower Mekong delta - has been changing rapidly at different spatial and temporal scales. The Tran Van Thoi District is considered “a small Ca Mau Province” because it hosts all the land cover/land use types of the province, including mangrove forest, melaleuca forest, cultivated lands, aquaculture ponds, built up areas, bare lands, and natural water bodies. The main objective of this research is to understand the dynamics, drivers and impacts of land cover and land use change (LUCC), and to relate these to the vulnerability of coastal households. This in order to provide knowledge supporting policy formulation for sustainable land management in the study area. More specifically, the study was designed to address the following objectives (i) detect, quantify, and map the spatial-temporal dynamics of LUCC that occurred between 1973 – 2011; (ii) identify the most meaningful socio-economic and environmental drivers and consequences of LUCC based on experts’ opinions; (iii) understand the factors influencing the understanding of individuals about the concepts, causes and effects of LUCC, as well as how they perceive and react to LUCC management; (iv) modelling the spatial pattern of major LUCC processes, including aquaculture expansion and built-up expansion, at household level; (v) and investigate the vulnerability of coastal households to natural hazards and its determining factors. Firstly, classifications of multi-temporal optical satellite data calibrated with field observations reveal that the area of cultivated lands, mangrove forest, melaleuca forest, and bare lands decreased from 1973 to 2011. In contrast, aquaculture ponds and built up areas greatly increased, especially from 1995 to 2004 for aquaculture. Secondly, a Delphi method was used to identify drivers and effects of LUCC based on independent ranking by 31 experts. 29 and 32 cause indicators, and 39 and 43 effect indicators (at Province and District scale respectively) were identified as meaningful socio-economic and environmental drivers and effects of LUCC, highlighting the complexity of LUCC dynamics. Thirdly, a Knowledge-Attitude-Practice (KAP) survey of 330 households and multiple logistic regression (MLR) show that educational level, age, participation in group activity, access to means of communication and occupation (farming or permanent employment) are the main influencing variables. The Knowledge of the concept, causes, and consequences of LUCC is shown to be highly correlated with the Attitude and Practice regarding LUCC management. Fourthly, the MLR application results reveal that household size, education and distance to the Song Doc River have significant impacts on aquaculture expansion. Moreover, household size, education, savings, housing, and distance to the road are the main drivers of built-up expansion. Lastly, the aggregated household vulnerability index based on a Principal Component Analysis is especially strongly correlated to education, income and housing quality. Households working in the trade and service sector, or as temporary employees are characterized by significantly higher vulnerability. The coastal communes concentrate a higher proportion of vulnerable households. In conclusion, this research not only demonstrates how remote sensing techniques can be applied to detect the spatial-temporal dynamics of LUCC, but also enhances our understanding of the complex set of LUCC drivers, the attitude of households regarding LUCC management and the consequences experienced lo
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • Kervyn De Meerendre, Matthieu, Supervisor
  • Thuc Tran, ., Supervisor, External person
Place of PublicationBrussels
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Mekong delta


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