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Balancing Economy and Ecology: A System Dynamics Analysis of Shrimp Aquaculture and Mangrove Forest Policy

Original scientific paper

Journal of Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems
Volume 12, Issue 3, September 2024, 1120515
DOI: https://doi.org/10.13044/j.sdewes.d12.0515
Hoang Ha Anh1 , Le Cong Tru1, Nguyen Van Trai1, Tran Minh Da Hanh2, Nguyen Van Cuong1
1 Nong Lam University, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
2 Nong Lam University, Việt Nam, Thu Duc city, Ho Chi Minh cỉy, Vietnam


The rapid expansion of shrimp farming in Ca Mau Province, Vietnam since the early 2000s has converted mangrove forests into aquaculture ponds, resulting in deforestation and degraded mangrove ecosystems. A system dynamics model was developed to assess the interactions and temporal changes among various economic, social, and environmental factors. The analysis was conducted under two development scenarios. In the Business as Usual scenario, shrimp farming will expand to 317,037 hectares in 2050, reducing mangrove coverage to 76,484 hectares and carbon storage to 4.8×106 MgC. However, this expansion is expected to create jobs, producing an output value of 25,153 billion VND and accounting for 25.13% of the province’s workforce. Conversely, the Policy Scenario stabilizes shrimp farming areas at 280,000 hectares, which will have alternative impacts on the environment, society, and economy. By 2050, Ca Mau’s mangrove coverage and carbon storage will reach 88,902 hectares and 5.6×106 MgC, respectively. Besides, the shrimp industry will generate an output value of 22,214 billion VND and account for 23.58% of the province’s workforce. Despite yielding lower economic growth and employment generation, policy interventions are expected to support overall positive developmental progress. Furthermore, a shift in the labor structure is anticipated due to restrictions on shrimp farming areas. The findings provide insights for policymakers to anticipate potential consequences of future development and appropriately adjust policy interventions. Several strategies, such as land use management, economic diversification, and alternative livelihood generation, are needed to balance environmental sustainability with social and economic growth in Ca Mau. Moreover, the methodology presented in this study is not limited to Ca Mau but is also applicable to other areas where the expansion of aquaculture endangers mangrove ecosystems.

Keywords: carbon storage; mangrove conservation; shrimp aquaculture; system dynamics modeling; Vietnam.

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