Social Science Baha

Trends in Migration, Urbanization and Remittances and their Effects on Tropical Forests and Forest-Dependent Communities

Collaborating partner(s): Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
Project duration: 15 December 2013 to 30 April 2014

The research examines the nexus between transnational migratory flows, gender equity and the governance of forests through case studies from Nepal. Nepal serves as an interesting and important context in which to situate the study because circular migration of men and women to the Gulf, South East Asia, and India has emerged as one of the major sources of employment since early 2000.
The criterion for selecting cases studies was informed by studies that suggested that the gender of the migrant has a bearing on intra-household decision-making processes regarding who migrates and where, choices that migrants make in the face of gender-segregated markets for migrant labour, and negotiations over the allocation of remittances, household labour (such as responsibilities of care) between the migrants and those “left behind”. Sindhupalchowk and Achham were selected purposively as the field districts because they have a long and well-established history of community forestry and also because they have high levels of transnational migration.   

While Nepal is held up as an exemplar in mobilising local communities to govern forests collectively, a plethora of research has also shown that community forestry reproduces and reinforces existing inequalities along gender, caste, class and ethnic lines. Despite the importance of migration for rural livelihoods and the country’s GDP, community forestry policies are still underpinned by the notion that rural households are socially and physically bounded. The research examined the ways in which migration influences who governs forests, how forests are governed, and what implications these have on gender equity and sustainability of forests.