Skip to main navigationSkip to sub navigationSkip to main content

MSEC / MultiScale Environmental Changes


Spillway of Maethang reservoir

Spillway of Maethang reservoir

Management Departement of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (NPD); responsible Settha Khosukh

Site: Huay Ma Nai catchment, Phrae province, Thailand.

Latitude 18°13’20’’N - Longitude 100°23’40’’ E

Elevation (m asl) 380-490 - Size (ha) 93.2 - Slope (%) 15 - 65

Mean rainfall (mm) 1077

Geology & landform: siltstone, sandstone - Soils: Inceptisol (20%), Alfisol (80%)

Hydrology: Intermittent flow

Agricultural practices: Slash & Burn, one mainly crop (corn)

Research programme:

Land use change and soil and water processes in tropical mountains environments. Multiscale Environmental Change (MSEC), IRD/NPD.


Degradation of the natural resource base in many of the countries in Asia is of increasing concern. As a result of increasing population, the pressure to exploit increasingly marginal resources is growing, particularly on the land and water resources of the upper watersheds where many of the region’s poorest make their livelihoods.


MSEC aims to contribute to achieving the linked goals of alleviating poverty in the target communities and reducing degradation of natural resources in upland areas of watersheds in tropical areas of Southeast Asia. It is seconded by IWMI (International Water Management Institute)


The purpose of MSEC project is to provide solid foundations for the implementation of science-based land and water resources management to improve the livelihoods of the people in the upper catchments of five countries in Southeast Asia. These foundations will be attained through a combination of:

  • Consolidation of the detailed bio-physical research on the processes of soil erosion and surface runoff on steep slopes;
  • Implementation of research on the socio-economic and institutional landscape of the target environments;
  • Formulation of practical guidelines for interventions leading to sustainable land and water management practices based on solid bio-physical and socio-economic research findings;
  • Development of appropriate analytical tools and techniques for appraisal of management and farming systems options;
  • Continued development of human and institutional capacity to do and interpret high quality research in regional NARES organizations;
  • Development of dissemination materials and methods based on research outputs to influence policy makers, development workers, extension practitioners and farmer communities; and
  • Development of policy and implementation guidelines used to improve the sustainable management of upper watersheds

Major outputs

The outputs of the project include the following:

  • Tools and methodologies for land and water management research and implementation at the catchment and community scales
    • Methodologies for identifying, evaluating and scaling-up the adoption of land and water management innovations at the community level
    • Multi-scale models to simulate and predict sediment budgets at catchment and community level under different climatic and land use change scenarios
  • Research-based land and water management systems that are acceptable to farmers and the community
  • Information materials and strategies for dissemination of research results
  • Field and laboratory-trained students who will contribute to the manpower pool of catchment research in the NARES or other organizations
  • Partners better trained in land and water management research, implementation and sustainability