In this paper, we study joint performance optimization on network lifetime and video distortion for an energy-constrained wireless video sensor network (WVSN). To seek an appropriate tradeoff between maximum network lifetime and minimum video distortion, a framework for joint source/channel rate adaptation is proposed, where the video encoding rate, link rate, and power consumption are jointly considered, formulating a weighted convex optimization problem. In the context of lossy wireless channels, an efficient error control scheme that couples network coding and multipath routing is explored. Moreover, an integrated power consumption model, including power dissipation on video compression, error control, and data communication, is specifically developed for the video sensor node. By primal decomposition, the original problem is decomposed into a two-level optimization procedure, with the high-level procedure for source adaptation (source rate optimization) and the low-level procedure for channel adaptation (network resource allocation). Finally, a fully decentralized iterative algorithm is developed to resolve the target optimization problem. Extensive simulation results evaluate the convergence performance of the proposed algorithm and demonstrate the best tradeoff performance.