Impacts of Outmigration on Land Management in a Nepali Mountain Area
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Identifying Emerging Issues in Disaster Risk Reduction, Migration, Climate Change and Sustainable Development
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This study examines the impacts of migration on land management in a mountain area of Nepal, complemented by insights from a smaller case study in Bolivia. Migration to cities and abroad increasingly leaves behind fragmented families and the elderly. Livelihoods as well as the management of land are affected by a changing labor force, traditional knowledge, remittances, and other consequences of migration. In this study, we explore how these issues affect land and its management, and what measures and strategies are being taken by the people left behind. Mapping methodology from the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT) was used to assess land management practices in a subwatershed in Western Nepal. In combination with other research methods, the mapping enabled a better understanding of the impacts of migration on land degradation and conservation. Preliminary findings reveal negative as well as positive impacts. The main degradation problem found was the growth of invasive alien plant species, while overall vegetation and forest cover had increased, and some types of degradation, such as soil erosion or landslides, were even reduced. A feminization of agriculture has also been observed in the Nepali case study, in contrast to the Bolivian case which revealed that whole families were migrating, with mostly men temporarily returning to manage the land. The findings of this study suggest that a more differentiated and context-specific view is required when looking at the impact of migration on land management.
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