Population and Environment

, Volume 32, Issue 2–3, pp 177–197 | Cite as

Environment, transnational labor migration, and gender: case studies from southern Yucatán, Mexico and Vermont, USA

  • Claudia Radel
  • Birgit Schmook
  • Susannah McCandless
Original Paper

Abstract

Gender shapes the migration–environment association in both origin and destination communities. Using quantitative and qualitative data, we juxtapose these gender dimensions for a labor migrant-sending location of Mexico’s southern Yucatán with those for a labor migrant-receiving location in Vermont (USA). We illustrate how in the southern Yucatán, circular transnational migration alters pasture, maize and chili production in a peasant field–forest system. Gender norms condition the land-use decisions of migratory households to keep women out of agricultural fields, but in turn may be modified in unexpected ways. With men’s migration, more women assume aspects of land management, including in decision-making and supervision of hired farm labor. In comparison, in Vermont a largely male migrant labor force helps maintain an idealized, pastoral landscape with gender deeply embedded in how that labor is constructed and managed.

Keywords

Migration Agriculture Landscape Gender Vermont Southern Yucatán Environment 

References

  1. Agarwal, B. (2003). Gender and land rights revisited: Exploring new prospects via the state, family and market. Journal of Agrarian Change, 3(1, 2), 184–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aide, T., & Grau, H. (2004). Globalization, migration, and Latin American ecosystems. Science, 305(5692), 1915–1916.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Albers, J. (2000). Hands on the land: A history of the Vermont landscape. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  4. Alscher, S. (2009). Mexico: Case study report. Environmental Change and Forced Migration Scenarios (EACH-FOR) Project. Available via http://www.each-for.eu/documents/CSR_Mexico_090126.pdf. Cited 18 May 2010.
  5. Appendini, K. (2003). The challenges to rural Mexico in an open economy. In J. Tulchin & A. Selee (Eds.), Mexico’s politics and society in transition (pp. 255–275). Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers.Google Scholar
  6. Barbieri, A., & Carr, D. (2005). Gender-specific out-migration, deforestation and urbanization in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Global and Planetary Change, 47(2–4), 99–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Batalova, J. (2008). Mexican immigrants in the United States. Migration Policy Institute. Available via Migration Information Source, US in Focus. http://www.migrationinformation.org/USFocus/display.cfm?ID=679. Cited 13 May 2010.
  8. Bates, D. (2002). Environmental refugees? Classifying human migrations caused by environmental change. Population and Environment, 23(5), 465–477.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bever, S. W. (2002). Migration and the transformation of gender roles and hierarchies in Yucatan. Urban Anthropology and Studies of Cultural Systems and World Economic Development, 31(2), 199–230.Google Scholar
  10. Boehm, D. (2008). “Now I am a man and a woman!” Gendered moves and migrations in a transnational Mexican community. Latin American Perspectives, 35(1), 16–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Boserup, E. (1970). Women’s role in economic development. London: Earthscan.Google Scholar
  12. Carr, D. (2004). Proximate population factors and deforestation in tropical agricultural frontiers. Population and Environment, 25(6), 585–612.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Carr, D. (2005). Forest clearing among farm households in the Maya Biosphere Reserve. The Professional Geographer, 57(2), 157–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Carr, D. (2008a). Migration to the Maya Biosphere Reserve, Guatemala: Why place matters. Human Organization, 67(1), 37–48.Google Scholar
  15. Carr, D. (2008b). Farm households and land use in a core conservation zone of the Maya Biosphere Reserve, Guatemala. Human Ecology, 36(2), 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Carr, D. (2009). Population and deforestation: Why rural migration matters. Progress in Human Geography, 33(3), 355–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Chant, S. (1991). Gender, migration and urban development in Costa Rica: The case of Guanacaste. Geoforum, 22(3), 237–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Chant, S. (Ed.). (1992). Gender and migration in developing countries. New York: Belhaven Press.Google Scholar
  19. Chant, S. (1997). Women-headed households: Diversity and dynamics in the developing world. London: MacMillan Press, Ltd.Google Scholar
  20. Conway, D., & Cohen, J. (1998). Consequences of migration and remittances for Mexican transnational communities. Economic Geography, 74(1), 26–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Davison, J. (Ed.). (1988). Agriculture, women, and land: The African experience. Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  22. de Haan, A. (2006). Migration in the development studies literature: Has it come out of marginality? Research Paper No. 2006/19, World Institute for Development Economics Research, United Nations University. Available at http://www.wider.unu.edu/publications/working-papers/research-papers/2006/en_GB/rp2006-19/. Cited 18 May 2010.
  23. de Sherbinin, A., VanWey, L., McSweeney, K., Aggarwal, R., Barbieri, A., Henry, S., et al. (2008). Rural household demographics, livelihoods and the environment. Global Environmental Change, 18, 38–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Deere, C. D. (2005). The feminization of agriculture? Economic restructuring in rural Latin America. Geneva: Occasional Paper 1, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD).Google Scholar
  25. Deere, C. D., & León, M. (2003). The gender asset gap: Land in Latin America. World Development, 31(6), 925–947.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Dreby, J. (2009). Gender and transnational gossip. Qualitative Sociology, 32, 33–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Duncan, J., & Duncan, N. (2003). Can’t live with them; can’t landscape without them: Racism and the pastoral aesthetic in suburban New York. Landscape Journal, 22(2), 88–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Durand, J., Kandel, W., Parrado, E., & Massey, D. (1996). International migration and development in Mexican communities. Demography, 33(2), 249–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Eaton, J. M., & Lawrence, D. (2009). Loss of carbon sequestration potential after several decades of shifting cultivation in the southern Yucatán. Forest Ecology and Management, 258(6), 949–958.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Echánove, F., & Steffen, C. (2004). Coping with trade liberalization: The case of Mexican grain producers. Culture and Agriculture, 25(2), 31–42.Google Scholar
  31. Findley, S. (1997). Migration and family interactions in Africa. In A. Adepoju (Ed.), Family, population and development in Africa (pp. 109–138). London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  32. Glaser, B., & Strauss, A. (1963). The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research. Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
  33. Grau, H., Aide, T., Zimmerman, J., Thomlinson, J., Helmer, E., & Zou, X. (2003). The ecological consequences of socioeconomic and land-use changes in postagriculture Puerto Rico. BioScience, 53(12), 1159–1168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Gravel, N. (2007). Mexican smallholders adrift: The urgent needs for a new social contract in rural Mexico. Journal of Latin American Geography, 6(2), 77–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Gray, C. (2008). Environment, land, and rural out-migration in the southern Ecuadorian Andes. World Development, 37(2), 457–468.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Gray, C. (2009). Rural out-migration and smallholder agriculture in the southern Ecuadorian Andes. Population and Environment, 30(4, 5), 193–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Harrison, B. A. (2006). The view from Vermont: Tourism and the making of an American rural landscape. Hanover: University Press of New England.Google Scholar
  38. 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.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Hondagneu-Sotelo, P. (1994). Gendered transitions: Mexican experiences of immigration. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  40. Hostettler, S. (2007). Land use changes and transnational migration: The impact of remittances in western Mexico. Ph.D. thesis, École Polytechnique Fédéral de Lausanne.Google Scholar
  41. Hugo, G. (2008). Migration, development and environment. SSRC Migration and Development Conference Paper No. 9. Brooklyn, NY: Social Science Research Council.Google Scholar
  42. International, Q. S. R. (2007). NVivo 16: QData. Chicago: QSR International.Google Scholar
  43. Jokisch, B. (2002). Migration and agricultural change: The case of smallholder agriculture in highland Ecuador. Human Ecology, 30(4), 523–550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Jokisch, B., & Lair, B. (2002). One last stand? Forests and change on Ecuador’s eastern Cordillera. The Geographical Review, 92(2), 235–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Katz, E. (2003). The changing role of women in the rural economies of Latin America. In B. Davis (Ed.), Food, agriculture, and rural development. Volume I: Latin America and the Caribbean (pp. 31–65). Rome: FAO.Google Scholar
  46. Kessel, H., & Bolduc, V. L. (2008). Vermont in transition: A summary of social, economic, and environmental trends. Paper prepared for the Council on the Future of Vermont. http://futureofvermont.org/files/u1/VTTransitions_Full_noAppen.pdf (Last accessed Feb 19, 2008).
  47. Klooster, D. (2003). Forest transitions in Mexico: Institutions and forests in a globalized countryside. The Professional Geographer, 55(2), 227–238.Google Scholar
  48. Klyza, C. M., & Trombulak, S. C. (Eds.). (1999). The story of Vermont: A natural and cultural history. Hanover: University Press of New England and Middlebury College Press.Google Scholar
  49. Lastarria-Cornhiel, S. (2006). Feminization of agriculture: Trends and driving forces. Background Paper for the World Development Report 2008. Available from http://www.rimisp.org/getdoc.php?docid=6489. Cited 18 May 2010.
  50. Maloney, T. R., & Grusenmeyer, D. C. (2005). Survey of Hispanic dairy workers in New York State. Research Bulletin 05-02. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.Google Scholar
  51. Massey, D., Capoferro, C., & Fischer, M. (2006). International migration and gender in Latin America: A comparative analysis. International Migration, 44(5), 63–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Mather, A. (1992). The forest transition. Area, 24(4), 367–379.Google Scholar
  53. McCandless, S. (2010). Conserving the landscapes of Vermont: Shifting terms of access and visibility. Ph.D. thesis, Clark University.Google Scholar
  54. McEvoy, J. (2008). Male out-migration and the women left behind: A case study of a small farming community in southeastern Mexico. M.S. thesis, Utah State University.Google Scholar
  55. McKay, D. (2005). Reading remittance landscapes: Female migration and agricultural transition in the Philippines. Geografisk Tidsskrift, Danish Journal of Geography, 105(1), 89–99.Google Scholar
  56. Menjívar, C., & Agadjanian, V. (2007). Men’s migration and women’s lives: Views from rural Armenia and Guatemala. Social Science Quarterly, 88(5), 1243–1262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Mitchell, D. (1996). The lie of the land: Migrant workers and the California landscape. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  58. Myers, N. (2002). Environmental refugees: A growing phenomenon of the 21st century. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B, 357(1420), 609–613.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Oberhauser, A., Mandel, J., & Hapke, H. (2004). Gendered livelihoods in diverse global contexts: An introduction. Gender, Place and Culture, 11(2), 205–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Pan, W., Carr, D., Barbieri, A., Bilsborrow, R., & Suchindran, C. (2007). Forest clearing in the Ecuadorean Amazon: A study of patterns over space and time. Population Research and Policy Review, 26, 635–659.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Parrado, E., & Flippen, C. (2005). Migration and gender among Mexican women. American Sociological Review, 70(4), 606–632.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Passel, J., & Cohn, D. (2008). Trends in unauthorized immigration: Undocumented inflow now trails legal inflow. Pew Hispanic Center. Available from http://www.ime.gob.mx/investigaciones/2008/phc_trends_unauthorized_immigration_undocumented_inflow_now_trails_legal_inflow.pdf. Cited 18 May 2010.
  63. Perz, S., & Skole, D. (2003). Secondary forest expansion in the Brazilian Amazon and the refinement of forest transition theory. Society & Natural Resources, 16(4), 277–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Pessar, P., & Mahler, S. (2003). Transnational migration: Bringing gender in. International Migration Review, 37, 812–846.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Radel, C., & Schmook, B. (2008). Male transnational migration and its linkages to land use change in a southern Campeche ejido. Journal of Latin American Geography, 7(2), 59–84.Google Scholar
  66. Radel, C., & Schmook, B. (2009). Migration and gender: The case of a farming ejido in Calakmul, Mexico. The Yearbook of the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers, 71, 144–163.Google Scholar
  67. Radel, C., Schmook, B., & Roy Chowdhury, R. (2010). Agricultural livelihood transition in the southern Yucatán region: Diverging paths and their accompanying land changes. Regional Environmental Change, 10(3), 205–218.Google Scholar
  68. Ratha, D., & Xu, Z. (2008). Migration and remittances factbook. Washington, DC: World Bank.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Razavi, S. (Ed.). (2003). Journal of Agrarian Change, Special Issue on Agrarian Change, Gender and Land Rights 3(1, 2).Google Scholar
  70. Rocheleau, D., Thomas-Slayter, B., & Wangari, E. (Eds.). (1996). Feminist political ecology: Global issues and local experiences. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  71. Rozelle, S., Taylor, J., & DeBrauw, A. (1999). Migration, remittances, and agricultural productivity in China. American Economic Review, 89(2), 287–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Rudel, T. (2005). Tropical forests: Regional paths of destruction and regeneration in the late twentieth century. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  73. Rudel, T., Bates, D., & Machinguiashi, R. (2002). A tropical forest transition? Agricultural change, out-migration, secondary forests in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 92(1), 87–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Sachs, C. (1996). Gendered fields: Rural women, agriculture and environment. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  75. Schmook, B., & Radel, C. (2008). International labor migration from a tropical development frontier: Globalizing households and an incipient forest transition—the southern Yucatán case. Human Ecology, 36(6), 891–908.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Sierra, R. (2000). Dynamics and patterns of deforestation in the western Amazon: The Napo deforestation front, 1986–1996. Applied Geography, 20, 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Silvey, R. (2004). Power, difference, and mobility: Feminist advances in migration studies. Progress in Human Geography, 28(4), 490–506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Sloan, S. (2007). Fewer people may not mean more forest for Latin American forest frontiers. Biotropica, 39(4), 443–446.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Stephenson, M. (2007). A northeast dairy benchmark. Cornell Program on Dairy and Markets Policy. Available from http://www.centerfordairyexcellence.org/tl_files/cde/pdf/Stephenson. Industry Study Paper 4-2-07.pdf. Cited 7 Aug 2009.
  80. Taylor, E., Arrango, J., Hugo, G., Kouaouci, A., Massey, D., & Pellegrino, A. (1996). International migration and community development. Population Index, 62(3), 397–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Taylor, M. J., Moran-Taylor, M. J., & Ruiz, D. R. (2006). Land, ethnic, and gender change: Transnational migration and its effects on Guatemalan lives and landscapes. Geoforum, 37(1), 41–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. The Global Commission on International Migration. (2005). Migration in an interconnected world: New directions for action. Geneva: The Global Commission on International Migration, The United Nations.Google Scholar
  83. Turner, B. L., I. I., Geoghegan, J., & Foster, D. (Eds.). (2004). Integrated land-change science and tropical deforestation in the southern Yucatán: Final frontiers. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  84. Valentine, B. E. (2005). Uniting two cultures: Latino immigrants in the Wisconsin dairy industry. Working Paper 121, Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, University of California-San Diego. San Diego: University of California.Google Scholar
  85. Vermont Farm Bureau. (2005). Dairy industry labor survey. Unpublished survey. Montpelier, VT: Vermont Farm Bureau.Google Scholar
  86. Vermont Land Trust. (2008). Vermont land trust 2007–2008 annual report. Montpelier, VT: Vermont Land Trust.Google Scholar
  87. Vester, H. F. M., Lawrence, D., Eastman, J. R., Turner, B. L., Calmé, S., Dickson, R., et al. (2007). Land change in the southern Yucatán and Calakmul Biosphere Reserve: Effects on habitat and biodiversity. Ecological Applications, 17(4), 989–1003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Warner, K., Ehrhart, C., de Sherbinin, A., Adamo, S., & Chai-Onn, T. (2009). In search of shelter: Mapping the effects of climate change on human migration and displacement. Report published by CARE. Available from http://www.ciesin.columbia.edu/documents/clim-migr-report-june09_final.pdf. Cited 18 May 2010.
  89. Zapata, E. (1996). Modernization, adjustment, and peasant production: A gender analysis. Latin American Perspectives, 23(1), 118–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudia Radel
    • 1
  • Birgit Schmook
    • 2
  • Susannah McCandless
    • 3
  1. 1.Ecology Center & Department of Environment and SocietyUtah State UniversityLoganUSA
  2. 2.El Colegio de la Frontera SurChetumalMéxico
  3. 3.Department of Geography, 200 Old MillUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations