Coastal climate change, soil salinity and human migration in Bangladesh

Printer-friendly versionPDF version
Oct 22, 2018
Author: 
J. Chen and V. Mueller 

 

Abstract

Climate change is not only altering weather patterns but also accelerating sea-level rise, leading to increased inundation and saline contamination of soils. Given projected sea-level rise, it is imperative to examine the extent to which farmers in coastal Bangladesh can adapt by diversifying economic activities before resorting to migration within and across borders. Here, to identify patterns in how households adapt to increased sea/freshwater flooding and soil salinity, we analyse nationally representative socioeconomic and migration data against a suite of environmental variables constructed at the sub-district level. Our results show that inundation alone has negligible effects on migration and agricultural production. However, gradual increases in soil salinity correspond to increasing diversification into aquaculture and internal migration of household members. Salinity is also found to have direct effects on internal and international migration even after controlling for income losses, with mobility restricted to certain locations within Bangladesh. Our study suggests that migration is driven, in part, by the adverse consequences of salinity on crop production.

Read the full article in Nature Climate Change.

Read more coverage in The Conversation.

Read the Behind the Paper.

DOI for citing: 
https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-018-0313-8
Share: Facebook Icon Twitter Icon Linked Icon