Environmental stressors and population mobility in China

Causes, approaches and consequences

Authored by: Yan Tan

Routledge Handbook of Environmental Displacement and Migration

Print publication date:  March  2018
Online publication date:  March  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138194465
eBook ISBN: 9781315638843
Adobe ISBN:


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Environmental (climate) change has presented major challenges to household livelihoods and the liveability of human habitats in many parts of China. There is strong cause-effect relationship between environmental change and widespread poverty in extensive rural areas, especially in the western region. Environmental (or ecological) migration has been employed as an important device for reducing population pressure on the environment, rehabilitating ecosystems, alleviating poverty and relieving environmental hazards since the mid-1980s. China is a special case because of the high level of government control to enforce environment-induced resettlement of millions of people. Based on studies published since 2000, in both Chinese and English, this chapter provides a review and synthesis of existing knowledge of the nexus between environmental change, poverty and population mobility and approaches to environmental resettlement. It also reviews the key environmental and socio-economic consequences of the ecological migration programs, addresses some significant factors influencing environmental migration behaviour and suggests some gaps for future research.

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