NASA awards East-West Center to assess environmental change in Asia

HONOLULU (KHNL) - NASA has awarded the East-West Center in Honolulu a $826,639 award to study the effects of the explosive expansion of rubber cultivation in Montane Mainland Southeast Asia on regional water and carbon dynamics.

Farmers in Southeast Asia are transitioning from shifting cultivation to commercial agriculture in response to China's increased demand for rubber.

"Hydrologic change within this region, which comprises approximately half of Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam and China's Yunnan Province, could have serious consequences for the approximately 200 million inhabitants of mainland Southeast Asia's lowlands and for the climate of monsoon Asia," said Jefferson Fox, East-West Center Senior Fellow.

The three-year study will bring together a team of specialists from the East-West Center, the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the National University of Laos, Harvard University and the Carnegie Institution.