South East Asia Hub

Landscapes providing bundles of ecosystem services

Countering illegal resource extraction through local stewardships, and maintaining multifunctional landscapes to benefit agriculture, development, biodiversity, and society.

South East Asia Hub

Different landscapes in southern and northern Laos


The entire country of Laos has 7.5 million inhabitants


Laos is a biodiversity hotspot of global relevance. It is home to many endangered species, pristine forests, untouched rivers, and an exceptionally rich agrobiodiversity.

Southeast Asia Region 1

In the diverse landscapes of Savannakhet province, the first study on ecosystem services in Laos was conducted in 2020. (© Michael Epprecht, Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern, 2020; Limestone landscape in Savannakhet province)


Laos has been isolated from the international community for decades. The recent economic and political opening has accelerated economic growth, which relies largely on the extraction of natural resources. Weak governance, poor law enforcement, uneven power distribution, and extremely rapid social transformations are posing tremendous challenges for protecting the environment and the rights of local communities. Local livelihood systems are increasingly undermined by the loss of biodiversity and by the erosion of the capacities of degrading landscapes for providing multifunctional services.

Southeast Asia Region 2

Nong Khiaw, Luang Prabang Province. © Albrecht Ehrensperger, Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern

Southeast Asia Region 3

Ecosystem services are defined by the needs and benefits attributed to them. Here the example of processing river algae for the urban market. (TABI project team)

Main achievements at Hub level 2021

  • Clarification of legal setup of the Wyss Academy Hub Southeast Asia in Vientiane, Laos (hosting by the Lao office of the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) agreed in principle and to be formalized in early 2022)
  • Identification of different challenges and related solutionscapes in which the Wyss Academy and partners co-design further activities
  • Compilation and sharing of current state of knowledge on the region in a Regional Appraisal Report
Portrait Epprecht

Interview with Dr. Michael Epprecht, Senior Advisor, CDE

Read the interview

Challenge 1

Local resource stewardship initiatives for nature and people in forest frontiers

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Challenge 2

Maintaining multifunctional landscapes in Laos by materializing the multiple benefits for nature and people

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