Human Ecology

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 329–363 | Cite as

Do Migrants Degrade Coastal Environments? Migration, Natural Resource Extraction and Poverty in North Sulawesi, Indonesia


Recent literature on migration and the environment has identified key mediating variables such as how migrants extract resources from the environment for their livelihoods, the rate and efficiency of extraction, and the social and economic context within which their extraction occurs. This paper investigates these variables in a new ecological setting using data from coastal fishing villages in North Sulawesi, Indonesia. We do not find as many differences between migrant and non-migrant families regarding destructive fishing behavior, technology, and investment as might have been expected from earlier theories. Instead, the context and timing of migrant assimilation seems to be more important in explaining apparent associations of migration and environmental impacts than simply migrants themselves. This finding fits well with recent literature in the field of international migration and immigrant incorporation.


migrants migration North Sulawesi fishing modes of incorporation coral reefs local economies 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aswani, S. (1999). Common property models of sea tenure: A case study from Roviana and Vonavona Lagoons, New Georgia, Solomon Islands. Human Ecology 27(3): 417–453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aswani, S. (2002). Assessing the effects of changing demographic and consumption patterns on sea tenure regimes in the Roviana Lagoon, Solomon Islands. Ambio 31(3): 272–284.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Bailey, T., and Waldinger, R. (1991). Primary, secondary, and enclave labor markets: A training systems approach. American Sociological Review 56: 432–445.Google Scholar
  4. Begossi, A. (1998). Resilience and neo-traditional populations: The caicaras (Atlantic Forest) and caboclos (Amazon, Brazil). In Berkes, F., and Folke, C. (eds.), Linking Social and Ecological Systems: Management Practices and Social Mechanisms for Building Resilience, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 129–157.Google Scholar
  5. Begossi, A., Hanazaki, N., and Tamashiro, J. Y. (2002). Medicinal plants in the Atlantic Forest (Brazil): Knowledge, use and conservation. Human Ecology 30(3): 281–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bene, C., and Tewfik, A. (2001). Fishing effort allocation and fisherman’s decision making process in a multi-species small-scale fishery: Analysis of the conch and lobster fishery in Turks and Caicos Islands. Human Ecology 29(2): 157–1868.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bernacsek, G. M. (1986). Fisheries development and wetland conservation in Africa. Journal of West African Fisheries 3(2): 121–135.Google Scholar
  8. Bertram, G. (1986). “Sustainable Development” in Pacific Micro-Economies. World Development 14(7): 809–822.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bilsborrow, R., and Carr, D. (2000). Population, agricultural land use, and the environment in Latin America. In Lee, D. R., and Barrett, C. (eds.), Agricultural Intensification, Economic Development and the Environment CAB International, UK.Google Scholar
  10. Bilsborrow, R. E. (1992). Rural Poverty, Migration and the Environment in Developing Countries: Three Case Studies. Washington, D.C., The World Bank.Google Scholar
  11. Bilsborrow, R. E., and DeLargy, P. F. (1991). Land use, migration, and natural resource deterioration: The experience of Guatemala and Sudan. In Davis, K., and Bernstam, M. S. (eds.), Population and Development Review: Resources, Environment, and Population: Present Knowledge, Future Options, pp. 125–147.Google Scholar
  12. Bilsborrow, R. E., and Ogendo, H. W. O. O. (1992). Population-driven changes in land use in developing countries. Ambio 21(1): 37–45.Google Scholar
  13. Bourdieu, P. (1985). The forms of capital. In Richardson, J. G. (ed.), Handbook of Theory and Research for Sociology of Education, Greenwood, New York, pp. 241–258.Google Scholar
  14. Bremner, J., and Perez, J. (2002). A case study of human migration and the sea cucumber crisis in the Galapagos Islands. Ambio 31(4): 306–310.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Broad, R. (1994). The poor and the environment: Friend of foes? World Development 22(6): 811–812.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Browder, J. (1995). Redemptive communities: Indigenous knowledge, colonist farming systems, and conservation of tropical forests. Agriculture and Human Values 12(1): 17–30.Google Scholar
  17. Bryant, D., Burke, L., McManus, J., and Spalding, M. (1998). Reefs at Risk: A Map-Based Indicator of Threats to the Worlds’ Coral Reefs. World Resources Institute, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  18. Cesar, Herman. (2000). Collected Essays on the Economics of Coral Reefs. The Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (SIDA), Arnhem, Netherlands.Google Scholar
  19. Cohen, J., and Small, C. (1998). Hypsographic Demography: The Distribution of Human Population by Altitude, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  20. Coleman, J. (1987). Norms as social capital. In Radnitzky, G., and Bernholz, P. (eds.), Economic Imperialism: The Economic Approach Outside the Field of Economics, Paragon House, New York.Google Scholar
  21. Connell, J., and Conway, D. (2000). Migration and remittances in island micro-states: A comparative perspective on the South Pacific and the Caribbean. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 24(1): 52–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Connell, J. (1994). Beyond the reef: Migration and agriculture in Micronesia. ISLA:-A-Journal-of-Micronesian-Studies 2(1): 83–101.Google Scholar
  23. Curran, S. (2002). Migration, social capital, and the environment: Considering migrant selectivity and networks in relation to coastal ecosystems. In Lutz, W., Prskawetz, A., and Sanderson, W. C. (eds.), Population and Environment: Methods of Analysis, Population Council, New York.Google Scholar
  24. Curran, S., and Agardy, T. (2002). Common property systems, migration, and coastal ecosystems. Ambio 31(4): 303–305.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Curran, S., Kumar, A., Lutz, W., and Williams, M. (2002). Interactions between coastal and marine ecosystems and human population systems: Perspectives on how consumption mediates this interaction. Ambio 31(4): 264–268.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. DeWalt, B. R., and Rees, M. W. (1994). The End of Agrarian Reform in Mexico: Past Lessons, Future Prospects. San Diego, CA, Center for US–Mexican Studies, University of California.Google Scholar
  27. Dwyer, P. and Minnegal, M. (1999). The transformation of use rights: A comparison of two Papua New Guinean societies. Journal of Anthropological Research 55(3): 361–383.Google Scholar
  28. Ehrlich, P. R. (1968). The Population Bomb. Ballantine Books, Inc., New York.Google Scholar
  29. Ewell, P. T., and Poleman, T. T. (1980). Uxpanapa: Agricultural Development in the Mexican Tropics. Pergamon Press, New York.Google Scholar
  30. Frank, A. G. (1998). ReOrient: Global Economy in the Asian Age. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.Google Scholar
  31. Gould, W. (1994). Population Growth, Environmental Stability and Migration in Western Kenya: From Malthus to Boserup. In Zaba, B., and Clarke, J. (eds.), Environment and Population Change, International Union for the Scientific Study of Population, Liege, Switzerland, pp. 247–268.Google Scholar
  32. Hanna, S. S. (1998). Managing for human and ecological context in the Maine soft shell clam fishery. In Berkes, F., and Folke, C. (eds.), Linking Social and Ecological Systems, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp. 190–211.Google Scholar
  33. Hinrichsen, D. (1998). Coastal Waters of the World: Trends, Threats, and Strategies. Island Press Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  34. Hunter, L. M. (1998). The association between environmental risk and internal migration flows. Population and Environment 19(3): 247–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). (2001). The study on the integrated coral reef management plan in North Sulawesi in the Republic of Indonesia.Google Scholar
  36. Jodha, N. S. (1985). Population growth and the decline of common property resources in Rajasthan, India. Population and Development Review 11: 247–264.Google Scholar
  37. Jodha, N. S. (1998). Reviving the social system-ecosystem links in the Himalayas. In Berkes, F., and Folke, C. (eds.), Linking Social and Ecological Systems: Management Practices and Social Mechanisms for Building Resilience, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 285–310.Google Scholar
  38. Jokisch, B. D. (2002). Migration and agricultural change: The case of smallholder agriculture in Highland Ecuador. Human Ecology 30(4): 523–550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Jolly, C. L. (1994). Four Theories of Population Change and the Environment. Population and Environment 16(1): 61–90.Google Scholar
  40. Jones, G. W. (1977). The Population of North Sulawesi, Gadjah Mada University Press, Yogyakarta.Google Scholar
  41. Jones, S. (1996). Farming systems and nutrient flows. A case of degradation? Geography 8(4): 289–300.Google Scholar
  42. Katz, E. G. (2000). Social capital and natural capital: A comparative analysis of land tenure and natural resource management in Guatemala. Land Economics 76(1): 114–132.Google Scholar
  43. Kirch, P. V. (2002). On the Road of the Winds: An Archaeological History of the Pacific Islands Before European Contact. University of California Press Berkeley.Google Scholar
  44. Kramer, R. A., Simanjuntak, S. M. H., and Liese, C. (2002). Migration and fishing in Indonesian coastal villages. Ambio 31(4): 367–371.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Leonard, H. J. (1989). Environment and the Poor: Development Strategies for a Common Agenda. New Brunswick, NJ, Transaction Books for the Overseas Development Council.Google Scholar
  46. Light, I. (1984). Immigrant and ethnic enterprise in North America. Ethnic and Racial Studies 7: 195–216.Google Scholar
  47. Malthus, T. R. (1798). An Essay on the Principal of Population. Vol 1, London.Google Scholar
  48. Marquette, C., and Bilsborrow, R. (1999). Population and environment relationships in developing countries: Recent approaches and methods. In Baudot, B., and Moomaw, W. (eds.), People and Their Planet, MacMillan Press, Great Britain.Google Scholar
  49. McIntosh, A. (1993). Population Policy and Environmental Impacts in Rural Zimbabwe. In Ness, G., Drake, W., and Brechin, S., (eds.), Population–Environment Dynamics: Ideas and Observations, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, pp. 133–151.Google Scholar
  50. Naylor, R. L., Bonine, K. M., Ewel, K. C., and Waguk, E. (2002). Migration, Markets, and Mangrove Resource Use on Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia. Ambio 31(4): 340–350.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Ostrom, E. (1990). Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Ostrom, E., Burger, J., Field, C. B., Norgaard, R. B., and Policansky, D. (1999). Revisiting the commons: Local lessons, global challenges. Science 284: 278–282.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Paine, R. T., Tegner, M. J., and Johnson, E. A. (1998). Compounded perturbations yield ecological surprises. Ecosystems 1: 535–545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Palsson, G. (1998). Learning by fishing: Practical engagement and environmental concerns. In Berkes, F., and Folke, C. (eds.), Linking Social and Ecological Systems, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp. 48–66.Google Scholar
  55. Panayotou, T. (2000). Population and Environment. Center for International Development, Cambridge, Massachusetts.Google Scholar
  56. Patterson, K. L., Porter, J. W., Ritchie, K. B., Polson, S. W., Mueller, E., Peters, E. C., Santavy, D. L., and Smith, G. W. (2002). The etiology or white pox, a lethal disease of the Caribbean elkhorn coral, Acropora Palmata. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 99(13): 8725–8730.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Perz, S. G. (2003). Social determinants and land use correlates of agricultural technology adoption in a forest frontier: A case study in the Brazilian Amazon. Human Ecology 31(1): 133–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Pichon, F. J. (1997). Settler households and land-use patterns in the Amazon frontier: Farm-level evidence from Ecuador. World Development 25(1): 67–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Pockley, P. (2000). Global warming identified as main threat to coral reefs. Nature 407(6807): 932CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Portes, A. (1998). Social capital: Its origins and applications in modern sociology. Annual Review of Sociology 22: 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Pretty, J., and Ward, H. (2001). Social capital and the environment. World Development 29(2): 209–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Ruilai, S. (1992). China’s coastal population and economic development: Summary of symposium. Chinese Journal of Population Sciences 4(2): 197–202.Google Scholar
  63. Scheffer, M., Carpenter, S., Foley, J. A., Folke, C., and Walker, B. (2001). Catastrophic shifts in ecosystems. Nature 413: 591–596.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  64. Sierra, R. (1999). Traditional resource-use systems and tropical deforestation in a multiethnic region in Northwest Ecuador. Environmental Conservation 26(2): 136–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Sosis, R., Feldstein, S., and Hill, K. (1998). Bargaining theory and cooperative fishing participation on Ifaluk Atoll. Human Nature 9: 163–203.Google Scholar
  66. Waldinger, R. (1995). Through the Eye of the Needle: Immigrants and Enterprise in the New York’s Garment Trade. New York University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  67. Whitten, A. J., Mustafa, M. and Henderson, G. S. (1987). The Ecology of Sulawesi. Gadjah Mada University Press Yogyakarta.Google Scholar
  68. World Bank. (1992). Brazil: An Analysis of Environmental Problems in the Amazon. Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  69. World Commission on Environment and Development. (1987). Our Common Future. Oxford University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  70. Yoda, E. (2001). Measuring the Economic Benefits of Coral Reefs to Small-Scale Fisheries: A Case Study in North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Unpublished Masters Project, Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, Duke University.Google Scholar
  71. Zhou, M. (1992). New York’s Chinatown: The Socioeconomic Potential of an Urban Enclave. Temple University Press, Philadelphia.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan Cassels
    • 1
  • Sara R. Curran
    • 2
  • Randall Kramer
    • 3
  1. 1.Office of Population ResearchPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Sociology and Office of Population ResearchPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA
  3. 3.Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth SciencesDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

Personalised recommendations