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Research Report

People in motion, forests in transition: Trends in migration, urbanization, and remittances and their effects on tropical forests

Susanna Hecht
Anastasia Lucy Yang
Bimbika Sijapati Basnett
Christine Padoch
Nancy L Peluso
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2015
Pages: 48
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-2)

    Migration has deep roots in resource management strategies. Historically, people have been mobile in their pursuit of food, water, land and income. People have also migrated to gain knowledge, to escape calamities, to win riches and to trade. Many have been pushed to move by political changes, economic shifts, violence and war. Population movements are not new. What is different in the conjuncture today is the hyper-globalized context of human mobility, the long distances and the sheer numbers. Recent estimates have almost a billion people engaged in both internal and external migration (UNDP 2009).

    Mobility provides a way to “seek...

  2. (pp. 3-12)

    Rural livelihoods in the global South – an area that includes large areas of tropical forests – are becoming increasingly diversified and less reliant on agriculture and rural biomass extraction. Sources of rural household incomes commonly include waged labor and extraction from multiple localities, often lying beyond rural boundaries. In light of a growing number of studies that are documenting changes in the nature, scale, function and practices of what is conventionally understood as being ‘rural’, the term ‘rural’ itself has come under increasing scrutiny. Rigg et al. (2012) among others have suggested that much of what is assumed about...

  3. (pp. 13-20)

    As the discussions above illustrate, consideration of the effects of migration, urbanization and remittances on forests and forest villages engages literatures that rarely overlap. Several reviews that attempted to apply general migration theories to comprehending the relationship between migration and forests (Massey et al. 1998) concluded that different theories work well to explain certain changes, at certain times, in certain places, but that the “causes of migration essentially differ in different regions and empirical circumstances” (Black et al. 2011, 5). Castles (2011) suggests that such attempts to find an overarching theory of migration are “rooted in a sedentarist notion of...

  4. (pp. 21-23)

    It is often reported that forest conversion for both subsistence and commercial agriculture is the most immediate cause of forest clearing but underlying causes are more complex and less well understood (Angelsen and Kaimowitz 1999; Hersperger et al. 2010; Hosonuma et al. 2012; Babigumira et al. 2014). Moreover, the term, ‘commercial agriculture’ encompasses both a smallholder’s shift to commodity or cash crops as well as massive landscape transformations to monocrop plantations. Forest cover changes cannot be explained as a simple reflection on population growth or supply–demand market forces. Largescale assessments of land-use change in fact have found little correlation...

  5. (pp. 24-26)

    Rural livelihoods, whether in forested or non-forested landscapes, are now commonly formed from multiple localities within and beyond the rural, encompassing the peri-urban, urban and transnational. Migration overall is a livelihood, investment and resilience strategy. It is conditioned by dynamics across multiple sectors and varying scales and is affected by macro policies, transnational networks, regional conditions, local demands, political and social relations, household options and individual desires. Because migration processes engage with rural populations and spaces in the tropics, they inevitably affect forest resources through changes in use and management. Yet links between forests and migration have been overlooked too...