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Fish migration, dams, and loss of ecosystem services in the Mekong basin

Dugan, Patrick J.; Barlow, Chris; Agostinho, Angelo A.; Baran, Eric; Cada, Glenn F.; Chen, Daqing; Cowx, Ian G.; Ferguson, John W.; Jutagate, Tuantong; Mallen-Cooper, Martin; Marmulla, Gerd; Nestler, John; Petrere, Miguel; Welcomme, Robin L.; Winemiller, Kirk O.


Patrick J. Dugan

Chris Barlow

Angelo A. Agostinho

Eric Baran

Glenn F. Cada

Daqing Chen

Ian G. Cowx

John W. Ferguson

Tuantong Jutagate

Martin Mallen-Cooper

Gerd Marmulla

John Nestler

Miguel Petrere

Robin L. Welcomme

Kirk O. Winemiller


The past decade has seen increased international recognition of the importance of the services provided by natural ecosystems. It is unclear however whether such international awareness will lead to improved environmental management in many regions. We explore this issue by examining the specific case of fish migration and dams on the Mekong river. We determine that dams on the Mekong mainstem and major tributaries will have a major impact on the basin's fisheries and the people who depend upon them for food and income. We find no evidence that current moves towards dam construction will stop, and consider two scenarios for the future of the fisheries and other ecosystems of the basin. We conclude that major investment is required in innovative technology to reduce the loss of ecosystem services, and alternative livelihood strategies to cope with the losses that do occur.


Dugan, P. J., Barlow, C., Agostinho, A. A., Baran, E., Cada, G. F., Chen, D., …Winemiller, K. O. (2010). Fish migration, dams, and loss of ecosystem services in the Mekong basin. AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment, 39(4), 344-348.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Jun 3, 2010
Publication Date 2010-06
Journal AMBIO
Print ISSN 0044-7447
Electronic ISSN 1654-7209
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 39
Issue 4
Pages 344-348
Keywords Mekong; Inland fisheries; Fish migration; Dams; Ecosystem services; River development
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