Coastal climate change, soil salinity and human migration in Bangladesh

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

Climate change is not only altering weather patterns but also accelerating sea-level rise, leading to increased inundation and saline contamination of soils. Given projected sea-level rise, it is imperative to examine the extent to which farmers in coastal Bangladesh can adapt by diversifying economic activities before resorting to migration within and across borders. Here, to identify patterns in how households adapt to increased sea/freshwater flooding and soil salinity, we analyse nationally representative socioeconomic and migration data against a suite of environmental variables constructed at the sub-district level. Our results show that inundation alone has negligible effects on migration and agricultural production. However, gradual increases in soil salinity correspond to increasing diversification into aquaculture and internal migration of household members. Salinity is also found to have direct effects on internal and international migration even after controlling for income losses, with mobility restricted to certain locations within Bangladesh. Our study suggests that migration is driven, in part, by the adverse consequences of salinity on crop production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)981-987
Number of pages7
JournalNature Climate Change
Volume8
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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