Quantifying Spatio-Temporal River Morphological Change and Its Consequences in the Vietnamese Mekong River Delta Using Remote Sensing and Geographical Information System Techniques

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The evolution of delta and riverbank erosion within the river basin can significantly impact the environment, ecosystems, and lives of those residing along rivers. The Vietnamese Mekong Delta (VMD), counted among the world’s largest deltas, has undergone significant morphological alterations via natural processes and human activities. This research aims to examine these morphological alterations and their impacts on local economic and social conditions in the VMD. This study utilized satellite data from 1988 to 2020, coupled with population density and land use/land cover (LULC) maps from 2002, 2008, and 2015. The findings reveal that the VMD experienced widespread erosion over the past three decades, covering an area of 66.8 km2 and affecting 48% of the riverbank length (682 km). In contrast to riverbanks, islets showed an accretion trend with an additional area of 13.3 km2, resulting in a decrease in river width over the years. Riverbank and islet erosion has had a profound impact on the LULC, population, and economy of the provinces along the VMD. From 2002 to 2020, eight different land use types were affected, with agricultural land being the most severely eroded, constituting over 86% of the total lost land area (3235.47 ha). The consequences of land loss due to erosion affected 31,273 people and resulted in substantial economic damages estimated at VND 19,409.90 billion (USD 799.50 million) across nine provinces along the VMD. Notably, even though built-up land represented a relatively small portion of the affected area (6.58%), it accounted for the majority of the economic damage at 70.6% (USD 564.45 million). This study underscores the crucial role of satellite imagery and GIS in monitoring long-term morphological changes and assessing their primary impacts. Such analysis is essential for formulating effective plans and strategies for the sustainable management of river environments.


Original languageEnglish
Article number707
JournalRemote sensing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2024

External IDs

Scopus 85185724580
ORCID /0000-0002-3729-0166/work/154741707


Sustainable Development Goals


  • erosion damage, land loss, morphological evolution, riverbank erosion, satellite imagery, Vietnamese Mekong Delta