Migration and risk: net migration in marginal ecosystems and hazardous areas

De Sherbinin, Alexander M.; Levy, Marc A.; Adamo, Susana Beatriz; MacManus, Kytt; Yetman, Gregory G.; Mara, Valentina; Razafindrazay, Liana; Goodrich, Benjamin K.; Srebotnjak, Tanja; Aichele, Cody; Pistolesi, Linda I.

The potential for altered ecosystems and extreme weather events in the context of climate change has raised questions concerning the role that migration plays in either increasing or reducing risks to society. Using modeled data on net migration over three decades from 1970 to 2000, we identify sensitive ecosystems and regions at high risk of climate hazards that have seen high levels of net in-migration and out-migration over the time period. This paper provides a literature review on migration related to ecosystems, briefly describes the methodology used to develop the estimates of net migration, then uses those data to describe the patterns of net migration for various ecosystems and high risk regions. The study finds that negative net migration generally occurs over large areas, reflecting its largely rural character, whereas areas of positive net migration are typically smaller, reflecting its largely urban character. The countries with largest population such as China and India tend to drive global results for all the ecosystems found in those countries. Results suggest that from 1970 to 2000, migrants in developing countries have tended to move out of marginal dryland and mountain ecosystems and out of drought-prone areas, and have moved towards coastal ecosystems and areas that are prone to floods and cyclones. For North America results are reversed for dryland and mountain ecosystems, which saw large net influxes of population in the period of record. Uncertainties and potential sources of error in these estimates are addressed.


Also Published In

Environmental Research Letters

More About This Work

Academic Units
Center for International Earth Science Information Network
Political Science
IOP Publishing
Published Here
January 6, 2015