Skip to main content

Advertisement

Log in

Climate change and internal migration intentions in the forest-savannah transition zone of Ghana

  • Original Paper
  • Published:
Population and Environment Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Migration is at the centre of demographic research on the population–environment nexus. Increasing concerns about the impacts of environmental events on human population are fuelling interest on the relationship between migration and environmental change. Using data from the Climate Change Collective Learning and Observatory Network Ghana project, we employ binary logistic regression to examine migration intentions of households in response to major community stressors including climate-related ones. The results indicate that the type of community stressor that affects households most does not differentiate migration intentions in Ghana’s forest-savannah transition zone: Even though the majority of the respondents mentioned climate-related events as the stressor that affects them the most, such events do not appear to directly explain migration intentions. However, socio-demographic factors such as age, household size and current migration status are significant predictors of migration intentions, with younger household heads, heads of migrant households and heads of smaller households being relatively more likely to have migration intentions than other household heads. We conclude that migration drivers are multifaceted and deserve further research because even in areas with perceived environmental stress, climate-related events may not be the primary motivation for migration intentions.

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

Notes

  1. Abu and Codjoe are members of the CCLONG team.

  2. Bush fires are specifically linked to drought in the study area. Major drought events in the area have been reported in 1983, 1988 and 1995, which was also the period that widespread bush fire destroyed farms and displaced a lot of households. The impact of the harmattan weather in parts of the year which brings about temporary drought has been associated with bush fires in the transition zone.

References

  • Adamo, S. (2003). Vulnerable people in fragile lands: Migration and desertification in the drylands of Argentina. The case of the Department of Jáchal. PhD Dissertation. Austin: University of Texas.

  • Adger, W. N., Agrawala, S., Mirza, M. M. Q., Conde, C., O’Brien, K. L., Pulhin, J., et al. (2007). Assessment of adaptation practices, options, constraints and capacity. In M. L. Parry, O. F. Canziani, J. P. Palutikof, C. E. Hanson & P. J. van der Linden (Eds.), Climate Change 2007: Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability (pp. 719–743). Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Adger, W. N., Kelly, P. M., & Nguyen, H. N. (2001). Environment, society and precipitous change. In W. N. Adger, P. M. Kelly, & H. N. Nguyen (Eds.), Living with environmental change: Social vulnerability, adaptation and resilience in Vietnam. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Adjei-Nsiah, S. (2006). Cropping systems, land tenure and social diversity in Wenchi, Ghana: Implications for soil fertility management. PhD thesis. Wageningen, The Netherlands: Wageningen University.

  • Afikorah-Danquah, S. (2009). Local resource management in the forest-savanna transition zone: The case of Wenchi District, Ghana. IDS Bulletin, 28(4), 36–46.

    Google Scholar 

  • Amanor, K. S. (1993). Wenchi farmers training project: Social/environmental baseline study. London: ODA Assignment.

    Google Scholar 

  • Amanor, K. S. (2002). Shifting tradition: Forest resource tenure in Ghana. In C. Toulmin, et al. (Eds.), The dynamics of resource tenure in West Africa (pp. 48–60). London: International Institute for Environment and Development.

    Google Scholar 

  • Amanor, K. S., & Pabi, O. (2007). Space, time rhetoric and agricultural changes in the transition zone of Ghana. Human Ecology, 35(1), 51–67.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Anarfi, J., Kwankye, S., Ababio, O. M., & Tiemoko, R. (2003). Migration from and to Ghana: A background paper. Migration DRC Working Paper C4. Brighton: Development Research Center on Migration, Globalisation, and Poverty, University of Sussex.

  • Asiamah, R. D., Adjei-Gyapong, T., Yeboah, E., Fening, J. O., Ampontuah, E. O., & Gaisie, E. (2000) Report on soil characterization and evaluation at four primary cassava multiplication sites (Mampong, Wenchi, Asuansi and Kpeve) in Ghana. Technical Report No. 200, Soil Research Institute, Kumasi.

  • Awumbila, M., & Tsikata, D. (2010). Economic liberalisation, changing resource tenures and gendered livelihoods: A study of small-scale Gold mining and mangrove exploitation in rural Ghana. In D. Tsikata & P. Golah (Eds.), Land tenure, gender and globalisation research and analysis from Africa, Asia and Latin America (pp. 99–142). Ottawa: IDRC.

    Google Scholar 

  • Beauchemin, C., & Schoumaker, B. (2005). Migration to cities in Burkina Faso: Does the level of development in sending areas matter? World Development, 33(7), 1129–1152.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Blaikie, P. (1994). Population change and environmental management: Coping and adaptation at the domestic level. In B. Zaba & J. Clarke (Eds.), Environment and population change (pp. 63–86). Liege: Derouaux Ordina Editions.

    Google Scholar 

  • Borjas, G. J. (1991). Immigration and self-selection. In J. Abowd & R. Freeman (Eds.), Immigration, trade and the labor market (pp. 29–76). Chicago: University of Chicago.

    Google Scholar 

  • Brown, O. (2008). Migration and climate change. International Organization for Migration (IOM) Research Series No. 31. Geneva: IOM.

  • Byass, P., Berhane, Y., Emmelin, A., & Wall, S. (2003). Patterns of local migration and their consequences in a rural Ethiopian population. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 31, 58–62.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Castles, S. (2002). Environmental change and forced migration: Making sense of the debate. Geneva: Evaluation and Policy Analysis Unit, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

    Google Scholar 

  • Castles, S. (2011). Concluding remarks on the climate change-migration nexus. In E. P. Piguet & P. de Guchteneire (Eds.), Migration and climate change (pp. 415–427). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Christian Aid. (2007). Human tide: The real migration crisis. Available: http://www.christianaid.org.uk/Images/human-tide.pdf. Downloaded 1st June 2012.

  • Codjoe, S. N. A., Atidoh, L. K. A., & Burkett, V. (2012). Gender and occupational perspectives on adaptation to climate extremes in the Afram Plains of Ghana. Climatic Change, 110(1), 431–454.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Codjoe, S. N. A., & Bilsborrow, R. E. (2011). Population and agriculture in the dry and derived savannah zones of Ghana. Population and Environment, 33(1), 80–107.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Codjoe, S. N. A., & Bilsborrow, R. E. (2012). Are migrants exceptional resource degraders? A study of agricultural households in Ghana. GeoJournal, 77(5), 681–694.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Codjoe, S. N. A., & Owusu, G. (2011). Climate change/variability and food systems: Evidence from the Afram Plains. Ghana. Regional Environmental Change, 11(4), 753–765.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Constant, A., & Massey, D. S. (2002). Return migration by German guest workers: Neoclassical versus new economic theories. International Migration, 40(4), 5–32.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • De Jong, G. F. (2000). Expectations, gender, and norms in migration decision-making. Population Studies, 54(3), 307–319.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Department for International Development. (2004). Migration and pro-poor policy in sub-Saharan Africa. Policy Briefing prepared by the Sussex Development Research Centre on Migration. July.

  • Findley, S. E. (1994). Does drought increase migration? A study of migration from rural Mali during the 1983–1985 drought. International Migration Review, 25(3), 539–553.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fisher, E. K., Marcoux, E., Miller, S. P., Sanchez, A., & Cunningham, R. E. (2004). Information behavior of migrant Hispanic farm workers and their families in the Pacific Northwest. Information Research, 10(1), 199–211.

    Google Scholar 

  • Foresight. (2011). Migration and global environmental change final project report. London: The Government Office for Science.

    Google Scholar 

  • Friends of the Earth. (2007). A citizen’s guide to climate refugees. Available: http://www.safecom.org.au/pdfs/FOE_climate_citizens-guide.pdf.

  • Gemenne, F. (2011). How they became the human face of climate change. Research and policy interactions in the birth of the ‘environmental migration’ concept. In E. P. Piguet & P. de Guchteneire (Eds.), Migration and climate change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ghana Ministry of Food and Agriculture. (1998). National soil fertility management action plan. Accra: Directorate of Crop Services.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ghana Statistical Service. (2005). Population data analysis report Vol. I. Socio-economic and demographic trend analysis. Accra: Ghana Statistical Service.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ghana Statistical Service. (2008). Ghana living standards survey report of the fifth round (GLSS 5). Accra: Ghana Statistical Service.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gibson, M. A., & Gurmu, E. (2012). Rural to urban migration is an unforeseen impact of development intervention in Ethiopia. PLoS ONE, 7(11), e48708. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048708.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Global Humanitarian Forum. (2009). The anatomy of a silent crisis. Geneva: Global Humanitarian Forum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Greenwood, M. J. (1997). Internal migration in developed countries. In M. R. Rosenzweig & O. Stark (Eds.), Handbook of population and family economics. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

  • Hatton, T. J., & Williamson, J. G. (2004). International migration in the long-run: Positive selection, negative selection and policy. NBER Working Paper, no. 10529, Cambridge, MA.

  • Herbold, J. (2010). Crop insurance in developing economies—The insurers’ and reinsurers’ perspective. The Journal for Rural Development, 4, 14–18.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hewitt, K. (1997). Regions of risk: A geographical introduction to disasters. Essex: Addison Wesley Longman Limited.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hughes, G. A., & McCormick, B. (1985). Migration intentions in the U.K. Which household want to migrate and which succeed? The Economic Journal, 95, 113–123.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hunter, L. (2005). Migration and environmental hazards. Population and Environment, 26, 273–302.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Izazola, H., Martínez, C., & Marquette, C. (1998). Environmental perceptions, social class and demographic change in Mexico City: A comparative approach. Environment and Urbanization, 10, 107–118.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kasanga, K., & Kotey, N. A. (2001). Land management in Ghana: Building on tradition and modernity. Accra: University of Ghana.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kasperson, J. X., & Kasperson, R. E. (2005). The social contours of risk: Publics, risk communication and the social amplification of risk (Vol. 1). London and Sterling, Virginia: Earthscan.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kelley, A. (1991). African urbanization and city growth: Perspectives, problems, and policies. Unpublished manuscript, Duke University.

  • Kniveton, D., Schmidt-Verkerk, K., Smith, C., & Black, R. (2008). Climate change and migration: Improving methodologies to estimate flows. IOM Research Series No. 33. Geneva: International Organisation for Migration.

  • Kwankye, S. O., Anarfi, J. K., Tagoe, C. A., & Castaldo, A. (2009). Independent north-south child migration in Ghana: The decision making process. Migration DRC Working Paper T-29. Brighton: Development Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty, University of Sussex.

  • Lall, S. V., & Shalizi, Z. (2006). Rural-urban migration in developing countries: A survey of theoretical predictions and empirical findings. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 3915. Washington, D.C.: Work Bank.

  • Lam, D. A. (2006). The demography of youth in developing countries and its economic implications. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 4022. Washington, D.C.: World Bank.

  • Lauby, P., & Stark, O. (1988). Individual migration as a family strategy: Young women in the Philippines. Population Studies, 42, 473–486.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Leach, M., Fraser, J., & Fairhead, J. (2012). Green grabs and biochar: Revaluing African soils and farming in the new carbon economy. The Journal of Peasant Studies, 39(2), 285–307.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Levitt, P. (2004). Transnational migrants: When “home” means more than one country. Migration Information Source. Washington, D.C.: Migration Policy Institute.

  • Linnerooth-Bayer, J., & Mechler, R. (2006). Insurance for assisting adaptation to climate change in developing countries: A proposed strategy. Climate Policy, 6(6), 621–636.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lonergan, S. (1998). The role of environmental degradation in population displacement. Environmental change and security program report. Washington: Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars.

  • Macleod, L. (1996). The migration intentions of young people in Ullapool. Scottish Affairs, 15, 70–82.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mahul, O., & Stutley, C. J. (2010). Government support and challenges to agricultural insurance. Challenges and options for developing countries. Washington, D.C.: World Bank.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Marchetta, F. (2008). Migration and non-farm activities as income diversification strategies: The case of northern Ghana. Working Paper N.16/2008. Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche, Università degli Studi di Firenze Via delle Pandette 9, 50127 Firenze, Italia.

  • Massey, D. S., Arango, J., Hugo, G., Kouaouci, A., Pellegrino, A., & Taylor, J. E. (1993). Theories of international migration: A review and appraisal. Population and Development Review, 19(3), 431–466.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Munshi, K. (2003). Networks in the modern economy: Mexican migrants in the U.S. labour market. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 118(2), 549–599.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Myers, N. (2002). Environmental refugees: A growing phenomenon of the 21st century. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 357(1420), 609–613.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nogle, J. M. (1996). Immigrants on the move: How internal migration increases the concentration of the Foreign-born. Legon: Center for Migration Studies, University of Ghana.

    Google Scholar 

  • Opare, J. A. (2003). Kayayie: The women head porter of southern Ghana. Journal of Social Development in Africa, 18(2), 33–48.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sharp, K., Devereux, S., & Amare, Y. (2003). Destitution in Ethiopia’s northeastern highlands (Amhara Regional State). Institute for Development Studies, Addis Ababa: Brighton and Save the Children (UK) Ethiopia.

  • Songsore, J. (2009). The urban transition in Ghana: Urbanization, national development and poverty reduction. Study Prepared for the IIED as part of its Eight Country Case Studies on Urbanization. London: IIED.

  • Stark, O. (1991). The migration of labor. Cambridge: Basil Blackwell.

    Google Scholar 

  • Stern, N. H. (2007). The stern review of the economics of climate change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Sutton, S. (1998). Predicting and explaining intentions and behavior: How well are we doing? Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 28(15), 1317–1338.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • United Nations Population Fund. (2009). The state of world population 2009. Facing a changing world: Women, population and climate. New York: UNFPA.

  • Van Dalen, H. P., Groenewold, G., & Schoorl, J. J. (2005). Out of Africa: What drives the pressure to emigrate? Journal of Population Economics, 18(4), 741–778.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Van Dalen, H. P., & Henkens, K. (2008). Emigration intentions: Mere words or true plans? Explaining international migration intentions and behavior. Center Discussion Paper No. 2008–60. Tilburg: Tilburg University.

  • Van der Geest, K. (2004). We are managing! Climate change and livelihood vulnerability in northwest Ghana. Leiden: Afrika-Studie Centrum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Van der Geest, K. (2011). North-south migration in Ghana: What role for the environment? International Migration, 49, 69–94.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • White, N. J., & Subedi, I. (2008). The demography of China and India: Effects on migration of high income countries through 2030. Washington, D.C.: Migration Policy Institute.

    Google Scholar 

  • World Bank. (2003). Ghana land administration project. Washington, D.C.: Project Appraisal Document.

    Google Scholar 

  • Zachariah, K. C., & Conde, J. (1981). Migration in West Africa: Demographic aspects. New York: Oxford University Press.

    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

Abu, M., Codjoe, S.N.A. & Sward, J. Climate change and internal migration intentions in the forest-savannah transition zone of Ghana. Popul Environ 35, 341–364 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11111-013-0191-y

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11111-013-0191-y

Keywords

Navigation