Rural out-migration and resource-dependent communities in Mexico and India
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- Robson, J.P. & Nayak, P.K. Popul Environ (2010) 32: 263. doi:10.1007/s11111-010-0121-1
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Resource regimes are complex social–ecological systems that operate at multiple levels. Using data from two distinct cultural and environmental contexts (Mexico and India), this paper looks at the susceptibility and response of such regimes to rural out-migration. As a driver of demographic and cultural change, out-migration impacts both the practices and institutional arrangements that define territorial resource use and management. The research shows that critical yet poorly recognised shifts in migration dynamics can increase the pressures felt locally and serve to reduce the effectiveness of institutional adaptations at the community level. From an environmental perspective, the research adds to the body of work examining the impacts of rural depopulation on land and seascapes and associated biological diversity. We question the assumption that rural–urban migration necessarily simulates ecosystem recovery and aids conservation. This finding is timely as funding agencies and government programs show belated interest in the consequences of out-migration for environmental management, resource use and rural livelihoods in tropical country settings.