Consequences of Out-Migration for Land Use in Rural Ecuador

Gray, Clark L.; & Bilsborrow, Richard E. (2014). Consequences of Out-Migration for Land Use in Rural Ecuador. Land Use Policy, 36, 182-91. PMCID: PMC3810977

Gray, Clark L.; & Bilsborrow, Richard E. (2014). Consequences of Out-Migration for Land Use in Rural Ecuador. Land Use Policy, 36, 182-91. PMCID: PMC3810977

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In rural Ecuador and elsewhere in Latin America, the departure of migrants and the receipt of migrant remittances have led to declining rural populations and increasing cash incomes. It is commonly assumed that these processes will lead to agricultural abandonment and the regrowth of native vegetation, thus undermining traditional livelihoods and providing a boon for biodiversity conservation. However, an increasing number of household-level studies have found mixed and complex effects of out-migration and remittances on agriculture. We advance this literature by using household survey data and satellite imagery from three study areas in rural Ecuador to investigate the effects of migration and remittances on agricultural land use. Multivariate methods are used to disaggregate the effects of migration and remittances, to account for other influences on land use and to correct for the potential endogeneity of migration and remittances. Contrary to common assumptions but consistent with previous studies, we find that migrant departure has a positive effect on agricultural activities that is offset by migrant remittances. These results suggest that rural out-migration alone is not likely to lead to a forest transition in the study areas.


Population and Environment


JOUR



Gray, Clark L.
Bilsborrow, Richard E.



2014


Land Use Policy

36


182-91








PMC3810977


7949

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