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The expansion of rice farms threatens important wetlands in Southeast Asia

By Joshua Rapp Learning

Houses in Tonlé Sap, Cambodia, where rice growing is threatening fisheries

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The intensification of rice cultivation threatens the ecosystem and fishing community of one of the most important wetlands in Southeast Asia.

“The floodplains change from natural habitats that support bird populations pretty quickly when they are flooded to grow rice,” says Simon Mahood of the Wildlife Conservation Society in Cambodia.

Cambodia’s largest lake, Tonlé Sap, collects a huge amount of water from various tributaries, whose alternating ebb and flow over the course of a year means an enormous shift in the water level. It is …