The lake is known for many things, its exceptional water regime with huge changes in the lake’s water level and water volume between different seasons; its unique reverse flow acting as a store for the Mekong during the flood season and then providing it water as the flood recedes; for its productivity, reported to be one of the most productive fisheries resources in the world,
and for its social characteristics and diversity with floating and stilted villages.

It is also increasingly a place where attention is focussed because of the potential threats to it: from developments upstream such as dams and irrigation schemes, which pose a threat to its water supply or at least the balance of its hydrological regime which has made it a unique socio-ecological system; the potential of increasing sedimentation from these activities; from the possible overuse of its aquatic resources and from the clearing of its flooded forests for agricultural development.

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