Skip to main content

Advertisement

Log in

Are migrants exceptional resource degraders? A study of agricultural households in Ghana

  • Published:
GeoJournal Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Although some scholars describe migrant farmers as ‘exceptional resource degraders’ others do not. This paper uses evidence from the transitional agro-ecological zone of Ghana, to examine whether there are substantial differences between households of migrants and the host population regarding agricultural land use. The aim is to determine whether migrants are more destructive of the land (and hence the environment) than the host population. This will be examined using a standard model of the determinants of agricultural land use, to which we add variables representing demographic impacts, including in-migration. The data used are from a household survey undertaken in 2002 among 110 migrant and 142 host population farming households in central Ghana. Results are mixed. We find no support for the hypothesis that households with migrants are less likely to consider the long-term effects of land use by increasing the land area in cultivation, but at the same time there is evidence of use of more land-intensive agricultural practices which tend to degrade farm land over time.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Agyare W. A. (2004). Soil characterisation and modeling of spatial distribution of saturated hydraulic conductivity at two sites in the Volta Basin of Ghana. Ecology and Development Series, No, 17. Gottingen: Cuviller Verlag.

  • Amacher, G. S., Cruz, W., Grebner, D., & Hyde, W. F. (1998). Environmental motivations for migration: Population pressure, poverty and deforestation in the Philippines. Land Economics, 74(1), 92–101.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Angelsen, A., & Kaimowitz, D. (2001). Introduction: The role of agricultural technologies in tropical deforestation. In A. Angelsen & D. Kaimowitz (Eds.), Agricultural technologies and tropical deforestation (pp. 1–18). New York: CABI/CIFOR.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Barnum, H., & Squire, L. (1979). An econometric application of the theory of the farm household. Journal of Development Economics, 6(1), 79–102.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Begossi, A. (1998). Resilience and neo-traditional populations: The caicaras (Atlantic Forest) and caboclos (Amazon, Brazil). In F. Berkes & C. Folke (Eds.), Linking social and ecological systems: Management practices and social mechanisms for building resilience (pp. 129–157). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Benneh, G. (1997). Toward sustainable agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa. issues and strategies. IFPRI Lecture Series 4. Washington, DC: International Food Policy Research Institute. http://www.ifpri.org/pubs/pubs.htm#lecture.

  • Bilsborrow, R. E. (1987). Population pressures and agricultural development in developing countries: A conceptual framework and recent evidence. World Development, 15(2), 183–203.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bilsborrow, R. E., & Carr, D. L. (2001). Population, agricultural land use, and the environment in developing countries. In D. R. Lee & C. B. Barrett (Eds.), Tradeoffs or synergies? Agricultural intensification, economic development and the environment (pp. 35–56). Wallingford, Oxon, U.K.: CABI Publishing Co.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Bilsborrow, R. E., & Geores, M. (1992). Rural population dynamics and agricultural development: Issues and consequences observed in latin America. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, Population and Development Program, and International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development.

    Google Scholar 

  • Binswanger, H., & McIntire, J. (1987). Behavioral and material determinants of production relations in land-abundant tropical agriculture. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 36(1), 73–99.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bonsu, M. (1992). A study of texture-based equation for estimating the saturated hydraulic conductivity of an Alfisol in the Sudan savannah ecological zone, Ghana. Hydrological Sciences, 36(6), 599–606.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Boserup, E. (1965). The conditions of agricultural growth. London: Allen and Unwin.

    Google Scholar 

  • Broad, R. (1994). The poor and the environment: Friend or foes? World Development, 22(6), 811–812.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Camp, S. L. (1992). Population pressure, poverty and the environment. Integration, 32(1), 24–27.

    Google Scholar 

  • Carr, D. L. (2006). A tale of two roads: Population, poverty, and politics on the Guatemalan frontier. Geoforum, 37(1), 94–103.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cassels, S., Curran, S. R., & Kramer, R. (2005). Do migrants degrade coastal environments? Migration, natural resource extraction and poverty in North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Human Ecology, 33(3), 329–363.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Codjoe, S. N. A. (2006). Migrant versus indigenous farmers. An analysis of factors affecting agricultural land use in the transitional agro-ecological zone of Ghana, 1984–2000. Danish Journal of Geography, 106(1), 103–113.

    Google Scholar 

  • Davis, K. (1963). The theory of change and response in modern demographic history. Population Index, 29(4), 345–366.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dickson, K. B., & Benneh, G. (1995). A new geography of Ghana. Malaysia: Longman.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ehrlich, P., & Ehrlich, A. (1990). The population explosion. NY: Simon and Schuster.

    Google Scholar 

  • Entwisle, B., Walsh, S. J., Rindfuss, R. R., & Chamratrithirong, A. (1998). Land-use/land-cover and population dynamics, Nang Rong, Thailand. In D. Liverman, E. F. Moran, R. R. Rindfuss, & P. C. Stern (Eds.), People and pixels. Linking remote sensing and social science (pp. 121–144). Washington, D.C: National Academy Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fearnside, P. M. (1986). Spatial concentration of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. Ambio, 15(1), 74–81.

    Google Scholar 

  • Futemma, C., & Brondı′zio, E. S. (2003). Land reform and land-use changes in the lower Amazon: Implications for agricultural intensification. Human Ecology, 31(3), 369–402.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gilbert, G. (Ed.). (1999). An essay on the principle of population, Oxford world’s classics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Grigg, D. (1992). World agriculture: Production and productivity in the late 1980 s. Geography, 72(1), 97–109.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gruhn, P., Goletti, F., & Yudelman, M. (2000). Integrated nutrient management, soil fertility, and sustainable agriculture: Current issues and future challenges. Food, Agriculture, and the Environment Discussion Paper 32. International Food Policy Research Institute, 2033 K Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20006 U.S.A. http://www.ifpri.org/2020/dp/2020dp32.pdf.

  • Hecht, S. B., Kandel, S., Gomes, I., Cuellar, N., & Rosa, H. (2006). Globalization, forest resurgence, and environmental politics in El Salvador. World Development, 34(2), 308–323.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hill, P. (1963). Migrant Cocoa farmers of Southern Ghana. Cambridge University Press: London.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hill, P. (1998). The Migrant Cocoa-farmers of Southern Ghana. LIT Verlag: Berlin.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hoerz, T. (1995). The environment of refugee camps. A challenge for refugees, local populations and agencies. Refugee Participation Network, 18(1), 17–19.

    Google Scholar 

  • IUCN. (2000). IUCN-CEESP environment and security task force briefing. Presented at the world conservation conference, Amman.

  • Jacobsen, K. (1994). The impact of refugees on the environment: A review of the evidence. Washington, D.C: Refugee Policy Group.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ketel, H. (1994). Tanzania: Environmental assessment report of the Rwandese refugee camps and the affected local communities in kagera region, 2–30 June 1994. PTSS Mission Report 94/29 N. Geneva: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

    Google Scholar 

  • Leach, M. (1992). Dealing with displacement: Refugee-host relations, food and forest resources in sierra leonean mende communities during the liberian influx, 1990–91, IDS research reports no. 22. Brighton: Institute of Development Studies.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lein, H. (1993). Floods, agricultural change. Some observations from Bangladesh: 1986–1990. Norwegian Journal of Geography, 4(1), 30–42.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lele, U., & Stone, S. W. (1989). Population pressure, the environment and agricultural intensification: Variations on the Boserup hypothesis. Madia Discussion Paper 4, Washington D.C.: World Bank.

  • Malthus, T. 1798 and 1803, (republished 1960). On population (First essay on population, 1798, and second essay on population, 1803). New York: Modern Library and Random House.

  • Meadows, D. H., Meadows, D. L., Randers, J., & Behrens, W. W., III. (1972). The limits to growth. A report for the club of Rome’s project on the predicament of mankind. New York: Universe Books.

  • Mortimore, M., & Turner, B. (2005). Does the Sahelian smallholder’s management of woodland, farm trees, rangeland support the hypothesis of human-induced desertification? Journal of Arid Environments, 63(3), 567–595.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mulley, B. G., & Unruh, J. D. (2004). The role of off-farm employment in tropical forest conservation: labor, migration and smallholder attitudes toward land in Western Uganda. Journal of Environmental Management, 71(3), 193–205.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Myers, N. (1997). Environmental refugees. Population and Environment, 19(2), 167–182.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nepstad, D., Alencar, A., Capobianco, J. P., Bishop, J., Moutinho, P., Lefebvre, P., et al. (2001). Road paving, fire regime feedbacks, and the future of Amazon forests. Forest Ecology and Management, 154(3), 395–407.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ostrom, E., Burger, J., Field, C. B., Norgaard, R. B., & Policansky, D. (1999). Sustainability—Revisiting the commons: Local lessons, global challenges. Science, 284(5412), 278–282.

    Google Scholar 

  • Overseas Development Institute. (1991). Environmental change and dryland management in Machakos District, Kenya, 19301990. Profile of technological change. Working Papers 53–63. London.

  • Pan, W. K. Y., & Bilsborrow, R. E. (2005). The use of a multilevel statistical model to anlayze factors influencing land use: A study of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Global and Planetary Change, 47(2–4), 232–252.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • 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.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • 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.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pingali, P. L., Bigot, Y., & Binswanger, H. P. (1987). Agricultural mechanisation and the evolution of farming systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. Washington, D.C: The World Bank.

    Google Scholar 

  • Postel, S. (1998). Global view of a tropical disaster. American Forests, 44(1), 25–29.

    Google Scholar 

  • Repetto, R. (1987). Population, resources, environment: An uncertain future. Population Bulletin, 42(2), 3–43.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rindfuss, R. R., Walsh, S. J., & Entwisle, B. (1996). Land use, competition, and migration. Paper presented at the population association of America meeting, New Orleans, Los-Angeles.

  • Roy Chowdhury, R., & Turner, II B. L., . (2006). Reconciling agency and structure in empirical analysis: Smallholder land use in the Southern Yucatan, Mexico. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 96(2), 302–322.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rudel, T. K. (1983). Roads, speculators, and colonization in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Human Ecology, 11(4), 385–403.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ruttan, V. H. (1994). Sustainable agricultural growth. In V. W. Ruttan (Ed.), Agriculture, environment and health: Sustainable development in the 21st century. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sader, S. A., Reining, C., et al. (1997). Human migration and agricultural expansion: An impending threat to the maya biosphere reserve. Journal of Forestry, 95(12), 27–32.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sheridan, T. E. (1988). Where the Dove calls: The political ecology of a peasant corporate community in Northwestern Mexico. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Simon, J. (1996). The Ultimate Resource 2. Princeton University Press: Princeton.

    Google Scholar 

  • Skole, D. L., & Tucker, C. J. (1993). Tropical deforestation, fragmented habitats, and adversely affected habitat in the Brazilian Amazon: 1978–1988. Science, 260(5116), 1905–1910.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stone, G. D. (1997). Predatory sedentism: Intimidation and intensification the Nigerian savanna. Human Ecology, 25(2), 223–242.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Strauss, J. (1986). The theory and comparative statics of agricultural household models: a general approach. In I. Singh, L. Squire, & J. Strauss (Eds.), Agricultural household modes: Extensions, applications, and policy. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tiffen, M., Mortimore, M., & Gichuki, F. (1994). More people, less erosion. Chichester: John Wiley and Sons.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tolba, M. K. (1986). Desertification. World meteorological organisation bulletin, 35(1), 17–22.

    Google Scholar 

  • Turner, B. L., I. I., Hyden, G., & Kates, R. W. (1993). Population growth and agricultural change in Africa. Gainesville, Florida: University of Florida Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Uitamo, E., & Nilsagard, H. (1999). Modeling deforestation caused by the expansion of subsistence farming in the Philippines. Journal of Forest Economics, 5(1), 99–121.

    Google Scholar 

  • Unruh, J., Cligget, L., & Hay, R. (2005). Migrant land rights reception and ‘clearing to claim’ in sub-Saharan Africa: A deforestation example from southern Zambia. Natural Resources Forum, 29(1), 190–198.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wood, C. H., & Skole, D. (1998). Linking satellite, census and survey data to study deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. In D. Liverman, E. F. Moran, R. R. Rindfuss, & P. C. Stern (Eds.), People and pixels: Linking remote sensing and social science (pp. 70–93). National Academy Press: Washington.

    Google Scholar 

  • World Resources Institute. (1989). World resources, 1989. Washington.

  • Zimmerer, K. S. (1993). Soil erosion and labor shortages in the Andes with special reference to Bolivia, 1953–91: Implications for conservation-with-development. World Development, 21(10), 1659–1675.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Samuel Nii Ardey Codjoe.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Codjoe, S.N.A., Bilsborrow, R.E. Are migrants exceptional resource degraders? A study of agricultural households in Ghana. GeoJournal 77, 681–694 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10708-011-9417-7

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10708-011-9417-7

Keywords

Navigation