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Hydrological impact of war-induced deforestation in the Mekong Basin

Lacombe G., Pierret A.. 2013. Ecohydrology, 6 (5) : p. 901-903.

DOI: 10.1002/eco.1395

The Vietnam War played a decisive role in the pre-1990s deforestation of the lower Mekong Basin, which in turn likely influenced regional broad-scale hydrology. This note presents and discusses new analyses that strengthen this thesis. Although concurrent overestimation of discharge and underestimation of rainfall, a couple of years after bombing climaxed in the early 1970s, could theoretically explain the sharp rise in water yield previously attributed to bomb-induced deforestation, new observations suggest that bombing has durably modified the landscape: by 2002, degraded forests still largely overlapped with areas heavily bombed 30¿years earlier. This corroborates observed long-term hydrological changes and suggests that warfare-induced deforestation has more profound and durable hydrological effects than previously thought.

Mots-clés : déboisement; guerre; hydrologie; conservation de l'eau; viet nam; asie du sud-est

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