Skip to main navigationSkip to sub navigationSkip to main content

MSEC / MultiScale Environmental Changes

Bounsamay SOULILEUTH

  • Agronomist, specialist in upland farming systems and weeds. Employer IRD (Institute de Recherche pour le Développement) in Laos.
  • Naveingkham village, Luangprabang district, Luangprabang province, Lao P.D.R.
  • Email: SBounsamay@gmail.com
  • Cell phone 020 2208246

I have been working for nine years in the MSEC programme, one year as a student followed by eight years as an assistant. MSEC (Management of Soil Erosion Consortium) is a network of scientific studies on land use change and erosion in five countries, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. The Lao study site, Houay Pano catchment, 65 ha at Ban Lak Sip, hosts many long-term and short-term scientific experiments in agronomy, hydrology and soil science and receives Laotian and European students every year during 6-9 months. My work consists (1) in providing assistance to the scientific team in field experiments, particularly the monitoring of on-farm experiments and preparation of various maps using ArcView, and (2) assisting Lao (Bachelor) and European (Bachelor and Master) students with their field experiments. Between 2 and 4 students are assigned to me every year.

Scientists of different disciplines collaborate in the MSEC programme and, over the years, allowed me to deepen my knowledge and learn new techniques and skills, examples are listed below:

  • Management of agronomic experiments including herbicide tests, contour planting, cover crop and improved fallow, conducting interviews with farmers, carrying out crop cuts for grain yield estimation. The monitoring of seasonal crop growth in long-term on-farm experimental plots is followed by calculation of harvest index and yield components (rice, maize, Jobs`tears, pidgeon pea).
  • Monitoring of weed growth and shifts in weed populations in permanent plots followed by analysis of competition between crop and weeds. This work includes the identification of the weed flora and fallow vegetation and therefore I maintain a field herbarium at the study site of 175 common weed species and about 300 woody fallow species. I assisted in preparing about 650 of dried voucher specimen of common plant species that were deposit at the National Herbarium in Vientiane, Lao P.D.R. I also monitored seed bank studies and experiments on allelopathy under teak. I have a good knowledge of the local flora, forest plants and weeds, scientific names and local names.
  • I conducted and assisted in various field surveys of vegetation and land use followed by the mapping of units at various scales using GIS and related techniques (theodolite, clinometer). Field surveys usually include a soil profile description using Munsell Chart, determination of soil density, preparation of composite soil samples.
  • Soil science and hydrology are part of the MSEC programme. Work in hydrology included collecting and processing water samples and bed load samples from hydrological stations (weirs) and assisting in rainfall simulation experiments.
  • The MSEC site receives many scientific visitors. During such a visit I explain the work that is being done and the equipment that is being used in English and Lao.