Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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How Local People Use Their Indigenous Knowledge to Respond to Floods and Droughts: A Case Study of Tonle Sap Lake Community, Cambodia

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posted on 2021-12-08, 18:19 authored by Seng, Sopheak

This thesis investigates the impacts of floods and droughts in the Tonle Sap Lake region and examines to what extent the local communities’ indigenous knowledge (IK) is used to deal with floods and droughts. The thesis begins by exploring the Tonle Sap Lake communities’ perceptions of climate change, especially floods and droughts and their impacts on local livelihoods. It then examines how the communities have used their IK to develop livelihood adaptation methods to cope with floods and droughts. To conduct this study, a qualitative methodology was adopted using semi-structured interviews, and non-participant and unstructured observation as the main methods. The semi-structured interviews were conducted with local people and local authorities from two communities, and NGO staff.   The study found that the intensity of floods and droughts in the Tonle Sap Lake region has increased in the last few years. Floods and droughts have threatened local livelihoods and food security. To mitigate the effects of floods and droughts, the local communities in this region have developed various livelihood adaptation strategies to adapt to the hazards. The communities appeared to use both IK and technologies for their adaptation strategies. IK is seen as an invaluable local community asset in developing livelihood adaptation methods.   Although a mixture of IK and new knowledge has been used to develop various adaptation strategies, the sufficiency of the adaptation is still limited. The current severity of climate change is seen to limit the local communities’ response capacities. To strengthen the communities’ adaptation capacity, contribution and involvement from non-governmental organisations and the government in developing climate change adaptation policy at a local level are essential.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Development Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Development Studies

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Overton, John