Population and Environment

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 301–318 | Cite as

The evolution and impacts of Graeme Hugo’s environmental migration research

  • Alan Gamlen
  • Douglas K. Bardsley
  • Janet Wall
Original Paper


Drawing on Graeme’s published and unpublished work, as well as his long-term collaborations with two of us, we identify strands of thought that Graeme kept returning to and refining over the course of his career. We trace the evolution of four key points that he often reiterated: (1) The migration-environment relationship is complex and oversimplified; (2) Migration is both a consequence and a cause of environmental change; (3) Migration is just one possible response to environmental change; and (4) Displacement is just one type of migration response. We briefly map his impact on environmental migration scholarship and policy by revealing how key publications have been used in different contexts to shape theory and practice.


Graeme Hugo Environmental change Migration Climate change Risk Decision-making 



We would like to thank the Editors of Population and Environment and two anonymous reviewers for their detailed feedback. In particular, we would like to acknowledge Special Issue Editor Yan Tan for her extensive guidance regarding the scholarly impacts of Graeme Hugo’s work.


  1. Adamo, S. B. (2011). Slow-onset hazards and population displacement in the context of climate change. Center for International Human Rights, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY, New York Liaison Office, UNHCR April 27, 2011, Available at
  2. Adelman, H. (Ed.). (1990). International refugee crisis project. North York: Centre for Refugee Studies, York University.Google Scholar
  3. Adger, W. N., Barnett, J., Brown, K., Marshall, N., & O’Brien, K. (2013a). Cultural dimensions of climate change impacts and adaptation. Nat Clim Chang, 3(2), 112–117. Scholar
  4. Adger, W. N., Quinn, T., Lorenzoni, I., Murphy, C., & Sweeney, J. (2013b). Changing social contracts in climate-change adaptation. Nat Clim Chang, 3(4), 330–333. Scholar
  5. Adger, W. N., Pulhin, J. M., Barnett, J., Dabelko, G. D., Hovelsrud, G. K., Levy, M., Oswald Spring, U., & Vogel, C. H. (2014). Human security. In C. B. Field, V. R. Barros, D. J. Dokken, K. J. Mach, M. D. Mastrandrea, T. E. Bilir, M. Chatterjee, K. L. Ebi, Y. O. Estrada, R. C. Genova, B. Girma, E. S. Kissel, A. N. Levy, S. MacCracken, P. R. Mastrandrea, & L. L. White (Eds.), Climate change 2014: Impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. Part A: global and sectoral aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (pp. 755–791). Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Asian Development Bank. (2011). Climate change and migration in Asia and the Pacific. Manila: ADB.Google Scholar
  7. Australian Red Cross. (2015). Productivity commission inquiry into migration intake: Australian Red Cross Submission. June 2015. Available at Accessed 24 October 2016.
  8. Bach, R. L., & Schraml, L. A. (1982). Migration, crisis and theoretical conflict. Int Migr Rev, 16(2), 320–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bardsley, D. K., & Hugo, G. J. (2010). Migration and climate change: examining thresholds of change to guide effective adaptation decision-making. Popul Environ, 32(2), 238–262. Scholar
  10. Barnett, J. R., & Webber, M. (2010). Accommodating migration to promote adaptation to climate change. Background Paper to the 2010 World Development Report. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper Series, 5270, 62.Google Scholar
  11. Bates, D. C. (2002). Environmental refugees? Classifying human migrations caused by environmental change. Popul Environ, 23(5), 465–477. Scholar
  12. Bedford, R. D., & Hugo, G. (2012). Population movement in the Pacific: a perspective on future prospects. Auckland: Department of Labour, Government of New Zealand and Canberra: Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Australian Government.Google Scholar
  13. Bertram, G., & Watters, R. F. (1985). The MIRAB economy in south pacific micro states. Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 26(3), 497–519.Google Scholar
  14. Black, R., Bennett, S. R. G., Thomas, S. M., & Beddington, J. R. (2011). Climate change: migration as adaptation. Nature.
  15. Bodman, A. (1991). Weavers of influence: the structure of contemporary geographic research. Trans Inst Br Geogr, 16(1), 21–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Bodman, A. (1992). Holes in the fabric: more on the master weavers in human geography. Trans Inst Br Geogr, 17(1), 108–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Castles, S., & Kosack, G. (1973). Immigrant workers and class structure in Western Europe. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. de Sherbinin, A., Castro, M., Gemenne, F., Cernea, M. M., Adamo, S., Fearnside, P. M., Krieger, G., Lahmani, S., Oliver-Smith, A., Pankhurst, A., Scudder, T., Singer, B., Tan, Y., Wannier, G., Boncour, P., Ehrhart, C., Hugo, G., Pandey, B., & Shi, G. (2011). Preparing for resettlement associated with climate change. Science, 334(6055), 456–457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dow, K., Berkhout, F., & Preston, B. L. (2013). Limits to adaptation to climate change: a risk approach. Curr Opin Environ Sustain, 5(3–4), 384–391. Scholar
  20. Gray, C. L. (2009). Environment, land, and rural out-migration in the Southern Ecuadorian Andes. World Dev, 37(2), 457–468. Scholar
  21. Gray, C. L., & Mueller, V. (2012). Natural disasters and population mobility in Bangladesh. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 109(16), 6000–6005. Scholar
  22. Harris, J., & Todaro, M. P. (1970). Migration, unemployment and development: a two-sector analysis. Am Econ Rev, 60(1), 126–142.Google Scholar
  23. Hugo, G. (1975). Population mobility in West Java, Indonesia. Unpublished PhD Thesis, Department of Demography, Australian National University, Canberra.Google Scholar
  24. Hugo, G. (1978). Population mobility in West Java. Yogyakarta: Gadjah Mada University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Hugo, G. (1984). The demographic impact of famine. In B. Currey & G. Hugo (Eds.), Famine as a geographical phenomenon (pp. 7–32). Dordrecht: D. Reidel.Google Scholar
  26. Hugo, G. (1987a). Forgotten refugees: postwar forced migrations within Southeast Asian countries. In J. R. Rogge (Ed.), Refugees: a third world dilemma (pp. 282–295). New Jersey: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
  27. Hugo, G. (1987b). Postwar refugee migration in Southeast Asia: patterns, problems and policy consequences. In J. R. Rogge (Ed.), Refugees: a third world dilemma (pp. 237–253). New Jersey: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
  28. Hugo, G. (1992). Population and environment: some issues for Australia. In K. Mahadevan, C. Tuan, & V. B. Nair (Eds.), Ecology, development and population problem: perspectives from India, China and Australia (pp. 127–157). Delhi: B.R. Publishing Corporation.Google Scholar
  29. Hugo, G. (1996). Environmental concerns and international migration. Int Migr Rev, 30(1), 105–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hugo, G. (2008a). Migration, development and environment. IOM Migration Research Series 35. Geneva: International Organization for Migration.Google Scholar
  31. Hugo, G. (2008b). Emerging demographic patterns in Asia and the Pacific: the implications for international migration. Washington DC: Migration Policy Institute.Google Scholar
  32. Hugo, G. (2009a). Labour migration for development: best practices in Asia and the Pacific. Asian Regional Programme on Governance of Labour Migration, Working Paper 17, ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. Bangkok: ILO.Google Scholar
  33. Hugo, G. (2009b). Lessons from past forced resettlement for climate change migration. In E. Piguet, A. Pecoud, & P. de Guchteneire (Eds.), Migration and climate change (pp. 260–288). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Hugo, G., (2010). Demographic Change and Liveability Panel Report: an Appendix to a Sustainable Population for Australia Issues Paper. Report commissioned by the Hon. Tony Burke MP, Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, December 2010. Available at
  35. Hugo, G. (2011). Future demographic change and its interactions with migration and climate change. Glob Environ Chang, 21(SUPPL.1), S21–S33. Scholar
  36. Hugo, G. (2012). Migration and development in low-income countries: a role for destination country policy? Migration and Development, 1(1), 24–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Hugo, G. (2013a). Introduction. In G. Hugo (Ed.), Migration and climate change (pp. xv–xlii). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  38. Hugo, G. (2013b). Climate change and migration in Southeast Asia. Unpublished draft manuscript prepared for A. Hayes (Ed.), Population dynamics and the human dimensions of climate change, Springer.Google Scholar
  39. Hugo, G. (2013c). Ten commonly held misconceptions on climate change and migration. In R. Stojanov, Z. Žalud, P. Cudlín, A. Farda, O. Urban, & M. Trnka (Eds.), Global change and resilience: From impacts to responses. Proceedings of the 3rd annual global change and resilience conference (pp. 26–34). Czech Republic: Global Change Research Centre AS CR, v.v.i.Google Scholar
  40. Hugo, G. (2013d). Famine and migration. In I Ness (Ed.), The encyclopedia of global human migration (pp. 1–7). Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  41. Hugo, G. (2013e). Migration between the Asia-Pacific and Australia: a development perspective. In J. Cortina & E. Ochoa-Reza (Eds.), New perspectives on international migration and development (pp. 229–275). New York: Columbia University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Hugo, G. (2014). Skilled migration in Australia: policy and practice. Asian and Pacific Migration Journal, 23(4), 375–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Hugo, G., Abbasi-Shavazi, J., & Kraly, E. P. (Eds.). (2018). Demography of refugee and forced migration, International Studies in Population Series, volume 13. Switzerland: Springer.Google Scholar
  44. Hugo, G. J., & Bardsley, D. K. (2014). Migration and environmental change in Asia. In E. Piguet & F. Lazcko (Eds.), People on the move in a changing climate: the regional impact of environmental change on migration (pp. 21–48). Geneva: International Organization for Migration.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Hugo, G., Bardsley D. K., Tan Y., Sharma V., Williams M. & Bedford R. (2009). Climate change and migration in the Asia-Pacific Region. Final Report to the Asian Development Bank, Manila.Google Scholar
  46. Hugo, G. J., & Chan, K. B. (1990). Conceptualising and defining refugee and other forced migrations in Asia. Southeast Asian Journal of Social Sciences, 18(1), 19–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Hunter, L. M. (2005). Migration and environmental hazards. Popul Environ, 26(4), 273–302. Scholar
  48. Kates, R. W., Travis, W. R., & Wilbanks, T. J. (2012). Transformational adaptation when incremental adaptations to climate change are insufficient. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 109(19), 7156–7161. Scholar
  49. Lewis, W. A. (1954). Economic development with unlimited supplies of labour. Manch Sch, 22(2), 139–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Martin, P. (1993). Trade and migration: NAFTA and agriculture. Washington DC: Institute for International Economics.Google Scholar
  51. Massey, D. S., Arango, J., Hugo, G., Kouaouci, A., Pellegrino, A., & Taylor, J. E. (1993). Theories of international migration: a review and appraisal. Popul Dev Rev, 19(3), 431–466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. McLeman, R. A., & Hunter, L. M. (2010). Migration in the context of vulnerability and adaptation to climate change: insights from analogues. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews-Climate Change, 1(3), 450–461. Scholar
  53. McLeman, R., & Smit, B. (2006). Migration as an adaptation to climate change. Clim Chang, 76(1–2), 31–53. Scholar
  54. McMichael, C., Barnett, J., & McMichael, A. J. (2012). An ill wind? Climate change, migration, and health. Environ Health Perspect, 120(5), 646–654. Scholar
  55. Neumann, B., Vafeidis, A. T., Zimmermann, J., & Nicholls, R. J. (2015). Future coastal population growth and exposure to sea-level rise and coastal flooding—a global assessment. PLoS One, 10(3), 34. Scholar
  56. Portes, A., & Borocz, J. (1989). Contemporary immigration: theoretical perspectives on its determinants and modes of incorporation. Int Migr Rev, 23(3), 606–630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Richmond, A. (1993). The environment and refugees: theoretical and policy issues. Revised version of a paper presented at the meetings of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population, Montreal. August.Google Scholar
  58. Salt, J. (1989). A comparative overview of international trends and types, 1950-80. Int Migr Rev, 23(3), 431–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Sevoyan, A., & Hugo, G. (2014). Vulnerability to climate change among disadvantaged groups: the role of social exclusion. In J. P. Palutikof, S. L. Boulter, J. Barnett, & D. Rissik (Eds.), Applied studies in climate adaptation (pp. 258–265). Oxford: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  60. Stark, O., & Bloom, D. E (1985). The new economics of labor migration. The American Economic Review, 75(2) Papers and Proceedings of the Ninety-Seventh Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association (May, 1985), 173–178.Google Scholar
  61. Steffen, W., Broadgate, W., Deutsch, L., Gaffney, O., & Ludwig, C. (2015). The trajectory of the Anthropocene: the great acceleration. Anthropocene Rev, 2, 81–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Suhrke, A. (1992). Pressure points: environmental degradation, migration and conflict. Paper prepared for conference organised by the American Academy of Arts and Science at the Brookings Institution, Washington DC, 11–12 May.Google Scholar
  63. Tan, Y., Hugo, G., & Potter, L. (2003). Government-organized distant resettlement and the Three Gorges Project, China. Asia-Pac Popul J, 18(3), 5–26.Google Scholar
  64. Tan, Y., Liu, X., & Hugo, G. (2015). Exploring relationship between social inequality and adaptations to climate change: evidence from urban household surveys in the Yangtze River delta, China. Popul Environ, 36(4), 400–428. Scholar
  65. Thompson, W. S. (1929). Population. Am J Sociol, 34, 959–975.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Warner, K., Erhart, C., de Sherbinin, A., Adamo, S. B., & Chai-Onn, T.C. (2009). In search of shelter: mapping the effects of climate change on human migration and displacement. A policy paper prepared for the 2009 Climate Negotiations. Bonn, Germany: United Nations University, CARE, and CIESIN-Columbia University and in close collaboration with the European Commission “Environmental Change and Forced Migration Scenarios Project”, the UNHCR, and the World Bank.Google Scholar
  67. Watts, N., Adger, W. N., Agnolucci, P., Blackstock, A., Byass, P., Cai, W. J., et al. (2015). Health and climate change: policy responses to protect public health. Lancet, 386(10006), 1861–1914. Scholar
  68. Wood, C. H. (1982). Equilibrium and historical-structural perspectives on migration. Int Migr Rev, 16(2), 298–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Zander, K. K., Petheram, L., & Garnett, S. T. (2013). Stay or leave? Potential climate change adaptation strategies among Aboriginal people in coastal communities in northern Australia. Nat Hazards, 67(2), 591–609. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Monash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.Hugo Centre for Migration and Population ResearchUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

Personalised recommendations