Migration in the Face of Global Environmental Change

by |October 24, 2011

Map showing migration in dry ecosystemsA new report released this week by the United Kingdom’s Foresight Project on Environmental Migration and contributed to by the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN ) shows that, over the past 40 years, coastal and inland water ecosystems experienced the greatest levels of net in-migration, whereas mountain, forest, cultivated, and dryland ecosystems experienced the greatest levels of net out-migration. The report also finds that net out-migration is generally spread over larger rural areas at relatively low levels, whereas net in-migration tends to be concentrated in urban areas. Because data on net migration are not widely available for  the time period, CIESIN used indirect estimation methods to model net migration by ecosystem and by decade for the period  of 1970-2010.  Read the report here.The Foresight Project’s summary report on environmental migration and other reports that contributed to its finding can be found here.

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D. WhitmanUnsettled by Climate Change – State of the Planet Recent comment authors
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[…] of people to migrate in the future. (The CIESIN team contributed to that report, and de Sherbinin blogged about it on State of the Planet the other day. There’s a piece about it in the current Nature as well.) […]

D. Whitman
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D. Whitman

Environmental change has a multiplier effect on other drivers of migration, such as economic hardship and crop failure. Yet terms such as “environmental refugees” and “climate refugees” may cause more problems than they solve. Neither category has status under international law. In the case of small island nations, there is an additional obstacle: If a whole state becomes submerged or uninhabitable, and there is no prospect of return, temporary refuge will not be enough. As Bogumil Terminski pionted in “Environmentally Induced Migrations” there is a huge conceptual difference between “environmental migrants” and “environmental refugees”. Accirding to this author environmental migrant… Read more »