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River Ecosystems & Environmental Ethics


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Conservation, Water & Development in a Changing Climate

  • While there are high levels of biodiversity in the lower Mekong, conservation efforts are only just beginning and environmental policies have yet to be fully developed. Vietnam and Cambodia, both newly emerging post-conflict nations with growing economies, are engaged in aggressive development. Each country’s path toward prosperity will have distinct yet profound effects on the natural and cultural landscapes of the region and the livelihoods of rural residents. Drivers of environmental change in the lower Mekong—whether urban expansion, tourism, or climate change—will influence the development trajectories for current and future generations. A fundamental focus of this program will be identifying these drivers and ways to mitigate the damage to natural systems while maintaining human livelihoods.

  • Semester Programs

    River Ecosystems & Environmental Ethics


    This program gives students an understanding of the science behind local issues in water resources, climate change, food production, land use, and biodiversity. Through coursework and research, SFS faculty and students will play a critical role in capacity-building through education, benchmarking environmental conditions, and monitoring the rapid changes to natural systems within this vibrant region.

During our first few years of programming in Cambodia, our staff and students will be working with local actors and other stakeholders to identify a suite of conservation and development challenges in the region. Together we will define a list of priority issues that SFS can help to address through research, and this will comprise the Center’s long-term strategic research plan.

Community reciprocity is at the heart of the SFS organizational and educational model. SFS students face the real-world complexities of issues affecting our host communities. With the results of our research, we offer data and recommendations that inform decision makers and build relationships between SFS and local stakeholders involved in biodiversity conservation and resource management.

As at our other Centers throughout the world, SFS is a part of the social fabric of the Communities in which we are hosted. SFS students get involved in community volunteer projects and social activities such as:

  • Engaging with the rich cultural heritage of Cambodia and Vietnam, including Khmer language lessons and local homestays
  • Hosting community lectures
  • Interacting with local students inside and outside of Can Tho University’s campus
  • Attending community festivals, pagodas, and traditional Apsara dance performances
  • Partnering with local NGOs and institutions to address environmental issues
  • Exploring local markets to practice language skills and try unique foods