National Geographic : 1968 Dec
Rice fields pattern islands and riverbank alike near Pakse in southern Laos. Farmers and their families dwell in stilt houses beneath food-bearing trees-coconut palms, litchis, papayas, mangoes. Monsoon rains have flooded the fields. Here, close to the Mekong, there is always ample water-even in the dry season. Dams envisioned by the Mekong Project would extend the boon to regions far from the river's present banks. As evening falls, a Lao farmer paddles homeward along the Mekong. From a river rich in fish, he can always fill his needs. But the building of dams will prevent some species from swim ming upstream to spawn. Fish experts working with the Me kong Committee are even now studying the problem with a 750 view to introducing new varieties.