Migration decision-making under environmental change: Place utility, mobility and ecosystem services in highland Peru

Adams, Helen (2012) Migration decision-making under environmental change: Place utility, mobility and ecosystem services in highland Peru. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Migration is often conceptualised as a failure to adapt to environmental risks and change, while new research suggests migration is an effective front-line response to environmental degradation. This thesis investigates the social and environmental mechanisms that lead to individuals adopting migration as an adaptation to environmental change. It argues that the use of migration as a response to environmental change depends on the ecosystem services available at location, the mobility characteristics of the individual and the degree to which ecosystem contribute to place utility. I interpret place utility as a function of both instrumental and affective bonds to place.
The research tests these ideas in a highland migrant sending area in a small coastal valley of Peru, geographically and culturally connected to the capital city Lima but predominantly rural in nature. The area has established rural-urban migration networks and a complex social-ecological system vulnerable to climate change. Data on mobility characteristics, contributors to place utility and use of ecosystem services in the rural sending area were collected through household surveys and semi-structured interviews. Four settlements were sampled along an altitudinal transect representing different ecological zones as well as different access to off-farm employment and other opportunities.
Analysis of the primary data shows that individuals gain utility from non-provisioning ecosystem services independently of reliance on provisioning ecosystem services. These impacts of climate change that previously only had a cultural significance take on significance in terms of migration. The data show that individuals remain in location because of positive place utility or low mobility potential. I conclude that a likely result of environmental change is an increase in dissatisfaction with no significant changes in the composition of the population. Low mobility potential, a function of affective bonds to place, prevents dissatisfied people from migrating. The thesis shows that populations are likely to be persistent in the face of environmental change. Understanding why individuals remain in location reveals the viability of migration as an adaptation to environmental change.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Users 2259 not found.
Date Deposited: 02 May 2013 11:39
Last Modified: 02 May 2013 11:39
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/42352


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