Coping with resettlement: A livelihood adaptation analysis in the Mekong River basin

A major driver of change in the Mekong River basin relates to hydropower development and the consequent changes in landscape and natural resource access regime that it induces. In this paper, we examine how the livelihoods of resettlers evolve following resettlement, and examine the determinants of that process. The study takes place in the context of the Theun Hinboun Expansion Project in Lao PDR. Based on longitudinal household surveys conducted before resettlement as well as 1, 2, and 3 years after resettlement, we identify the process of livelihood adaptation in resettled communities. Results show varying capacity to absorb shocks and cope with change even within a small village with seemingly equal conditions. Our results suggest that a more detailed understanding of this adaptation process is key to improving interventions for rebuilding the livelihoods of those resettled by development projects in rural areas.