Advertisement

Migration as a Risk Management Strategy in the Context of Climate Change: Evidence from the Bolivian Andes

  • Regine BrandtEmail author
  • Raoul Kaenzig
  • Susanne Lachmuth
Chapter
Part of the Global Migration Issues book series (IOMS, volume 6)

Abstract

Mountain regions are among the most vulnerable areas with regard to global environmental changes. In the Bolivian Andes, for example, environmental risks, such as those related to climate change, are numerous and often closely intertwined with social risks. Rural households are therefore characterized by high mobility, which is a traditional strategy of risk management. Nowadays, most rural households are involved in multi-residency or circular migratory movements at a regional, national, and international scale. Taking the case of two rural areas close to the city of La Paz, we analyzed migration patterns and drivers behind migrant household decisions in the Bolivian Andes. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with selected respondents from 68 households. The drivers for migration were categorized, their relative importance was calculated, and generalized linear mixed models were applied for statistical analyses. Our results underline that migration is a traditional peasant household strategy to increase income and manage livelihood risks under rising economic pressures, scarcity of land, insufficient local off-farm work opportunities, and low agricultural productivity. Migration predominantly occurs to nearby urban areas located in the same region. Climatic variability and water scarcity, which have increased through climate change, play crucial roles as additional stressors for agricultural production. Our results suggest that environmental factors do not drive migration independently, but are rather combined with socio-economic factors. There is a need for more research on the links between environmental changes driven by climate change and other factors and their effects on migration dynamics and rural development in the Bolivian Andes and adjacent areas.

Keywords

Bolivian Andes Climate change Glacier retreat Migration Peasant farming Water scarcity 

Notes

Acknowledgement

Funding was granted by the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst), Bonn, Germany. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all interviewees who shared their experience and time with us. We also acknowledge the cooperating Instituto de Ecología (Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, La Paz) and the project PRAA (“Adaptación al Impacto del Retroceso Acelerado de Glaciares en los Andes Tropicales”, Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Agua, Bolivia). In addition, we are very grateful to the staff members of CARE Bolivia for providing field work logistics, and to AguaSustentable, BMI (Bolivian Mountain Institute) and CATIE (Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza) for their scientific input. Our sincere thanks also go to André Lindner, Verónica Agner, Vladimir Mendieta and Gunnar Seidler for their support in coordination, interview translation, transcription and preparation of the map, as well as to Mihai Popa for his helpful comments on the manuscript. Finally, we would like to thank the reviewers who contributed to improving this chapter.

References

  1. Atteslander, P. (2003). Methoden der empirischen Sozialforschung. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  2. Balderrama, M. C., Tassi, N., Rubena, M. A., Aramayo, C. L., & Cazorla, I. (2011). Rural migration in Bolivia: The impact of climate change, economic crisis and state policy. Human Settlements Group. London: IIED.Google Scholar
  3. Black, R. (2001). Environmental refugees: Myth or reality? New Issues in Refugee Research (UNHCR), 34.Google Scholar
  4. Black, R., Adger, W. N., Arrnell, N. W., Dercon, S., Geddes, A., & Thomas, D. S. G. (2011). The effect of environmental change on human migration. Global Environmental Change, 21S, S3–S11. doi: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2011.10.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bottazzi, P., & Rist, S. (2012). Changing land rights means changing society: The sociopolitical effects of agrarian reforms under the Government of Evo Morales. Journal of Agrarian Change, 12(4), 528–551.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bradley, A. V., & Millington, A. C. (2008). Coca and colonists: Quantifying and explaining forest clearance under coca and anti-narcotics policy regimes. Ecology and Society, 13(1), 31.Google Scholar
  7. Bradley, R. S., Vuille, M., Diaz, H. F., & Vergara, W. (2006). Threats to water supplies in the tropical Andes. Science, 312(5781), 1755–1756. doi: 10.1126/science.1128087.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brandt, R., Mathez-Stiefel, S.-L., Lachmuth, S., Hensen, I., & Rist, S. (2013). Knowledge and valuation of Andean agroforestry species: The role of sex, age, and migration among members of a rural community in Bolivia. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, 9, 83. doi: 10.1186/1746-4269-9-83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Castles, S. (2002). Environmental change and forced migration: Making sense of the debate. New Issues in Refugee Research (UNHCR), 70.Google Scholar
  10. CATIE-OTN Bolivia (2012). Plan de gestión integral de cuenca. Para el área de intervención del proyecto PRAA. Programa estratégico: cuencas y cambio climático. La Paz.Google Scholar
  11. Crawley, M. J. (2007). The R book. Chichester: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Da Rocha Ribeiro, R., Ramírez, E., Simões, J., & Machaca, A. (2013). 46 years of environmental records from the Nevado Illimani glacier group, Bolivia, using digital photogrammetry. Annals of Glaciology, 54(63), 272–278. doi: 10.3189/2013AoG63A494.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. De Haas, H. (2010). Migration and development: A theoretical perspective. International Migration Review, 44(1), 227–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. De la Riva, M. V., Lindner, A., & Pretzsch, J. (2013). Assessing adaptation – Climate change and indigenous livelihood in the Andes of Bolivia. Journal of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Tropics and Subtropics (JARTS), 114(2), 109–122.Google Scholar
  15. De Sherbinin, A., Castro, M., Gemenne, F., Cernea, M. M., Adamo, S., Fearnside, P. M., et al. (2011). Preparing for resettlement associated with climate change. Science, 334(6055), 456–457. doi: 10.1126/science.1208821.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Francou, B., Ramirez, E., Cáceres, B., & Mendoza, J. (2000). Glacier evolution in the tropical Andes during the last decades of the 20th century: Chacaltaya, Bolivia, and Antizana, Ecuador. AMBIO, 29(7), 416–422. doi: 10.1579/0044-7447-29.7.416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Grau, H. R., & Aide, T. M. (2007). Are rural-urban migration and sustainable development compatible in mountain systems? Mountain Research and Development, 27(2), 119–123. doi: 10.1659/mrd.0906.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gray, C. (2009). Environment, land, and rural out-migration in the southern Ecuadorian Andes. World Development, 37(2), 457–468. doi: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2008.05.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gray, C. L., & Bilsborrow, R. E. (2014). Consequences of out-migration for land use in rural Ecuador. Land Use Policy, 36, 182–191. doi: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2013.07.006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Grothmann, T., & Patt, A. (2005). Adaptive capacity and human cognition: The process of individual adaptation to climate change. Global Environmental Change, 15(3), 199–213. doi: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2005.01.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Guilbert, M.L. (2005). Environnement et migration: les difficultés d’une communauté rurale andine (El Terrado, Potosi, Bolivie). VertigO - la revue électronique en sciences de l’environnement, 6(3). doi: 10.4000/vertigo.2441
  22. Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE) (2015). Estadísticas demográficas. La Paz: Población total proyectada, por sexo, según provincia y sección de provincia, 2009–2011. Instituto Nacional de Estadística. Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia. Retrieved March 5, 2015 from http://www.ine.gob.bo.
  23. Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE) - Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo (PNUD) (2005). Bolivia: Atlas estadístico de municipios. Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia. Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo. Retrieved March 5, 2015 from http://www.ine.gob.bo.
  24. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2014). Climate change. Synthesis report. Summary for policymakers. Geneva: World Meteorological Organization/Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.Google Scholar
  25. Jodha, N. S. (2005). Adaptation strategies against growing environmental and social vulnerabilities in mountain areas. Himalayan Journal of Sciences, 3(5), 33–42.Google Scholar
  26. Jokisch, B. D. (2002). Migration and agricultural change: The case of smallholder agriculture in highland Ecuador. Human Ecology, 30(4), 523–550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kaenzig, R. (2014). Can glacial retreat lead to migration? A critical discussion of the impact of glacier shrinkage upon population mobility in the Bolivian Andes. Population and Environment, 34(4), 480–496. doi: 10.1007/s11111-014-0226-z.Google Scholar
  28. Kartiki, K. (2011). Climate change and migration: A case study from rural Bangladesh. Gender & Development, 19(1), 23–38. doi: 10.1080/13552074.2011.554017.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kay, C., & Urioste, M. (2007). Bolivia’s unfinished agrarian reform: Rural poverty and development policies. In A. H. Akram-Lodhi, S. M. Borras, & C. Kay (Eds.), Land, poverty and livelihoods in an era of globalization: Perspectives from developing and transition countries (pp. 41–79). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  30. Kniveton, D., Schmidt-Verkerk, K., Smith, C., & Black, R. (2008). Climate change and migration: Improving methodologies to estimate flows. Geneva: IOM (International Organization for Migration).Google Scholar
  31. Kohler, T., Wehrli, A., & Jurek, M. (2014). Mountains and climate change: A global concern. Sustainable Mountain Development Series. Bern: Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Geographica Bernensia.Google Scholar
  32. Lazar, S. (2008). El Alto, rebel city: Self and citizenship in Andean Bolivia. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Massey, D. S., Arango, J., Hugo, G., Hugo, G., Kouaouci, A., Pellegrino, A., et al. (1993). Theories of international migration: A review and appraisal. Population and Development Review, 19(3), 431–466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Maupin, J. N., Ross, N., & Timura, C. A. (2011). Gendered experiences of migration and conceptual knowledge of illness. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 13(3), 600–608. doi: 10.1007/s10903-010-9333-9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mazurek, H. (2007). Three pre-concepts regarding the internal migration in Bolivia. Revista de Humanidades y Ciencias Sociales (Santa Cruz de la Sierra), 14(1–2), 1–18.Google Scholar
  36. McDowell, J. Z., & Hess, J. J. (2012). Accessing adaptation: Multiple stressors on livelihoods in the Bolivian highlands under a changing climate. Global Environmental Change, 22(2), 342–352. doi: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2011.11.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Meze-Hausken, E. (2000). Migration caused by climate change: How vulnerable are people in dryland areas? Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, 5(4), 379–406. doi: 10.1023/A:1026570529614.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Milan, A., & Ho, R. (2014). Livelihood and migration patterns at different altitudes in the Central Highlands of Peru. Climate and Development, 6(1), 69–76. doi: 10.1080/17565529.2013.826127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Morton, J. F. (2007). The impact of climate change on smallholder and subsistence agriculture. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(50), 19680–19685. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0701855104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Myers, N. (1993). Environmental refugees in a globally warmed world. BioScience, 43(11), 752–761.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Navarro, G., & Maldonado, M. (2002). Geografía ecológica de Bolivia: vegetación y ambientes acuáticos. Santa Cruz: Centro de Ecología Difusión Simón I. Patiño.Google Scholar
  42. Netting, R. M. (1993). Smallholders, householders: Farm families and the ecology of intensive, sustainable agriculture. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Perch-Nielsen, S. L., Bättig, M. B., & Imboden, D. (2008). Exploring the link between climate change and migration. Climatic Change, 91(3–4), 375–393. doi: 10.1007/s10584-008-9416-y.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Perez, C., Nicklin, C., Dangles, O., Vanek, S., Sherwood, S., Halloy, S., et al. (2010). Climate change in the high Andes: Implications and adaptation strategies for small-scale farmers. The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, 6(5), 71–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Piguet, E. (2010). Linking climate change, environmental degradation and migration: A methodological overview. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 1(4), 517–524. doi: 10.1002/wcc.54.Google Scholar
  46. Piguet, E. (2012). Migration: The drivers of human migration. Nature Climate Change, 2(6), 400–401. doi: 10.1038/nclimate1559.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Piguet, E. (2013). From “primitive migration” to “climate refugees”: The curious fate of the natural environment in migration studies. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 103(1), 148–162. doi: 10.1080/00045608.2012.696233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Quinlan, M. (2005). Considerations for collecting freelists in the field: Examples from ethnobotany. Field Methods, 17(3), 219–234. doi: 10.1177/1525822X05277460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. R Development Core Team (2015). The R Project for Statistical Computing. R for Windows 3.1.2. Retrieved 19 Feb 2015 from http://www.r-project.org.
  50. Rabatel, A., Francou, B., Soruco, A., Gomez, J., Cáceres, B., Ceballos, J. L., et al. (2013). Current state of glaciers in the tropical Andes: A multi-century perspective on glacier evolution and climate change. The Cryosphere, 7, 81–102. doi: 10.5194/tc-7-81-2013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Rademacher-Schulz, C., Tamer, A., Warner, K., Rosenfeld, T., Milan, A., Etzold, B., et al. (2012). Rainfall variability, food security and human mobility: An approach for generating empirical evidence (Intersections, Vol. 10). Bonn: UNU-EHS.Google Scholar
  52. Ramírez, E. (2009). Estudio de la disponibilidad de recursos hídricos de la cuenca del Nevado Mururata (Informe final). La Paz.Google Scholar
  53. Sanabria, H. (1993). The coca boom and rural social change in Bolivia. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Soruco, A., Vincent, C., Francou, B., & Gonzalez, J. F. (2009). Glacier decline between 1963 and 2006 in the Cordillera Real, Bolivia. Geophysical Research Letters, 36, L03502. doi: 10.1029/2008GL036238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Stadel, C. H. (2008). Vulnerability, resilience and adaptation: Rural development in the tropical Andes. Pirineos, 163, 15–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Stark, O., & Bloom, D. E. (1985). The new economics of labor migration. The American Economic Review, 75(2), 173–178.Google Scholar
  57. Valdivia, C., Dunn, E. G., & Jetté, C. (1996). Diversification as a risk management strategy in an Andean agropastoral community. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 78(5), 1329–1334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Valdivia, C., Seth, A., Gilles, J. L., García, M., Jiménez, E., Cusicanqui, J., et al. (2010). Adapting to climate change in Andean ecosystems: Landscapes, capitals, and perceptions shaping rural livelihood strategies and linking knowledge systems. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 100(4), 818–834. doi: 10.1080/00045608.2010.500198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Vuille, M., Bradley, R. S., Werner, M., & Keimig, F. (2003). 20th century climate change in the tropical Andes: Observations and model results. Climatic Change, 59(1–2), 75–99. doi: 10.1023/A:1024406427519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Warner, K. (2010). Global environmental change and migration: Governance challenges. Global Environmental Change, 20(3), 402–413. doi: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2009.12.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Zoomers, A. (2012). Migration as a failure to adapt? How Andean people cope with environmental restrictions and climate variability. Global Environment, 9, 104–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Regine Brandt
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Raoul Kaenzig
    • 3
  • Susanne Lachmuth
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Formerly International Network on Climate Change (INCA), Institute of International Forestry and Forest ProductsTechnical University DresdenTharandtGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Biology/Geobotany and Botanical GardenMartin-Luther-University Halle-WittenbergHalle/SaaleGermany
  3. 3.Institute of GeographyUniversity of NeuchâtelNeuchâtelSwitzerland
  4. 4.German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-LeipzigLeipzigGermany

Personalised recommendations