Human Ecology

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 547–562 | Cite as

Biodiversity and Nutrition in Rice-Based Ecosystems; the Case of Lao PDR

  • Caroline Jane Garaway
  • Chantone Photitay
  • Khampet Roger
  • Lieng Khamsivilay
  • Matthias Halwart


This paper presents results from a year-long household survey in which the aquatic resource collection and consumption activities of 240 households across Lao PDR were studied to assess the diversity of species used, their role in household food security and the overall importance of ricefield habitats in this respect. Results show that aquatic biodiversity, under threat in rice-based ecosystems, plays a larger role in household consumption than previous estimates. More than 90 % of these resources are collected by households themselves and the greatest quantities from ricefield habitats. This seasonal aquatic environment is therefore the principal habitat from which households acquire aquatic animals, both to eat fresh and to process and store for use during nutritionally vulnerable times of year. The importance of these habitats therefore goes far beyond their use for rice production and this multi-functionality needs to be understood and addressed in agricultural, conservation and food security policy.


Wild foods Nutrition Biodiversity Aquatic animals Ricefield ecosystem Livelihoods Fisheries 



This research was funded by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) under the Lao PDR FNPP National Agricultural Biodiversity Programme in Lao PDR. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the FAO.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caroline Jane Garaway
    • 1
  • Chantone Photitay
    • 2
  • Khampet Roger
    • 2
  • Lieng Khamsivilay
    • 2
  • Matthias Halwart
    • 3
  1. 1.UCLLondonUK
  2. 2.LARReCVientianeLao PDR
  3. 3.FAORomeItaly

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