Key pathways are shared for influencing wetland conservation and management decision-making, based in part on field surveys of wetland-dependent communities in the area. The authors make recommendations for policy practitioners and non-governmental organizations for national and local policy level changes, with possible regional impacts.
The wetlands of the lower Songkhram River basin are protected as a Ramsar site and a regional environmental asset, but they are under threat from numerous factors related to developmental activities. The lower Songkhram River is the last free-flowing tributary of the Mekong River and is a lifeline for over 14 000 households and a haven to many endemic biodiversity species. Local communities in the region have unique associations with the natural resources in the river basin, including the wetlands, and they perceive immense value in conserving these ecosystems.
Natural resource policies lack specific guidelines and collaborative approaches for the protection, conservation and management of the wetland resources of the lower Songkhram River. The way forward should be led by a synchronized planning process, collaborative governance of the wetland resources, and empowerment of already existing local community groups.
Corrected policy brief posted on 19 August 2022: changes made
to refer to sources for information on current fish catch (p. 2), as
well as to specify where knowledge and funding need to be
directed in future, with regard to the section on policy gaps (p. 5).