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Journal Articles PLOS Climate Year : 2024

Local social-ecological context explains seasonal rural-rural migration of the poorest in south-west Bangladesh

Abstract

Bangladesh is one of the countries most affected by climate change. Internal migration is often presented as a response to environmental degradation. Here, using a people-centred perspective, we explore the complexity of the links between climate-induced change, environmental degradation caused by waterlogging and seasonal rural migration. We used an inductive qualitative approach in social sciences, conducting fourteen semi-directed interviews and six focus group discussions in March-April 2022. We related those results to a rainfall analysis on CHIRPS data for 1981-2021and we represented interactions and feedback between changes and livelihoods in a model. A complex picture of the situation is emerging, showing the interweaving effects of non-climatic and climatic changes, their interplay at different scales, their cumulative effects, the interactions between livelihood types and feedback between social and natural systems. Most of the climate-induced changes gradually become noticeable over the past 25 years. Climate data confirm these changes in recent decades, with July being wetter and January being dryer. Villagers reported waterlogging as the most significant change in their community, pointing to its multiple causes, originating in non-local and local, non-climatic anthropic changes, exacerbated by shrimp farm enclosures and worsened by climate-induced changes such as heavier rains, wetter monsoons and cyclones. Tiger prawn farms, reported as a lucrative and local adaptation to waterlogging and salinisation for the ones who can afford it, worsen the situation for the less wealthy, causing waterlogging and salinisation of the adjacent agricultural lands and buildings, the disappearance of traditional fishing and a reduction of the local job market. In addition, erratic rain patterns, droughts and cyclones affect local production and labour markets. COVID-19 lockdowns, by impacting markets and mobilities, further aggravated the situation. Inequality has increased as the range of adaptations of the less wealthy appears limited in this context of multiple crises.
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hal-04523077 , version 1 (27-03-2024)

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Lucie Clech, Juan Pablo Sierra, Muhammad Abdul Mannan, Mollah Kabir, Mrittika Barua, et al.. Local social-ecological context explains seasonal rural-rural migration of the poorest in south-west Bangladesh. PLOS Climate, 2024, 3 (3), pp.e0000239. ⟨10.1371/journal.pclm.0000239⟩. ⟨hal-04523077⟩
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