Perceptions of ecological migration in inner Mongolia, China: summary of fieldwork and relevance for climate adaptation
The paper reveals that migration is being chosen as a way of dealing with vulnerability in farmers’ livelihoods. It finds that while many migrants feel that their lives have improved in key areas, challenges associated with ensuring that the move is a sustainable one in the longer term remain.
The paper provides the following findings:
- the policy of ecological migration is an adaptation to a situation in which vegetation and grasslands had degraded to a point beyond which land-based livelihoods could no longer be sustained
- reasons given for migrating are linked to both environmental conditions and the existence of attractive government assistance and compensation for families willing to move through policies and programmes
- livelihood adaptations resulting from ecological migration raise both new climate adaptation, as well as mitigation issues
- there has been dissatisfaction and unmet expectations during the process of ecological migration for some households
- more effort is required to obtain the same income in farming compared to herding
- climate change adaptation concerns for agriculture in the new villages include whether crops and irrigation systems are sufficiently adaptive to withstand projected climate variations and extremes
- the most pervasive constraint to successful adaptation in the new villages in the long run is related to local people’s perceptions of the government and its policies
- awareness among local populations about what they could do to adapt to long-term climate and environmental change is needed.