The Impact of Global Climate Change and Local Environmental Stress on Migration in Nang Rong, Thailand

Jacqueline Meijer-Irons, University of Washington
Benjamin Chabot-Hanowell, University of Washington
Sara Curran, University of Washington
Matt Dunbar, University of Washington

Scholars point to climate change, often in the form of more frequent and severe drought, as a potential driver of migration in the developing world, particularly in populations that rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. To date, however, there have been few large-scale, longitudinal studies that explore the relationship between climate change and migration. This study extends current scholarship by evaluating distinctive effects of slow onset climate change and short-term extreme events upon different migration outcomes. Our analysis models the effect of the environment--as measured by NDVI and the occurrence of El Nino Southern Oscillation events—on labor and return migration to Nang Rong. Our preliminary findings indicate that reduced vegetation health is associated with higher rates of labor migration and lower rates of return migration. El Nino periods have the same effects on migration as NDVI, whereas La Nina periods are associated with lower labor migration and higher return migration.

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Presented in Session 156: Methods and Measurement in Population-Development-Environment Research