The wetlands of the lower Mekong River Basin are ecologically and socioeconomically significant, but they are threatened by predicted climatic change. The likely response of wetland ecosystems to altered flooding regimes and surface-water chemistry is unknown in detail and difficult to model. One way of exploring the impact of climate change on wetland ecosystems is to utilize proxy environmental data that reveal patterns of change over geological time. In recent years, the coverage and resolution of proxy climatic data have improved markedly in the region. Recent evidence of the South China Sea transgression into southern and central Cambodia and paleobotanical evidence from the Tonle Sap ("Great Lake") and elsewhere allow us to explore how periods of higher-than-present sea level and increased monsoon rainfall in the past have impacted the wetland ecology of the lower Mekong River Basin.
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