The Impact of Disruptions to Migration on Land Use and Resilience in Agricultural Systems

Lead PI: Dr. Christopher Small , Carrico, Amanda; Donato, Katharine; Burchfield, Emily

Unit Affiliation: Marine and Polar Geophysics, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO)

May 2022 - October 2025
North America ; United States
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: This project will investigate the complex linkages between migration, rural livelihoods and land use focusing specifically on mass return migration to rural areas during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using a mixed-methods approach that integrates longitudinal survey data with remotely sensed land cover data, this project will reveal how pandemics effect rural communities? livelihoods. This project builds on a previously conducted environment and migration survey in 2019 that collected detailed socio-economic data from 4000 households by conducting a follow-up survey in 2022 of the same households. These survey results coupled with the land cover change data will illustrate agriculture changes over this four-year period caused by disruptions to migrant networks, labor supply, and employment. The results of this study will explain how migration impacts agriculture and land use, results that provide an understanding of how rural communities cope with the socio-enviromental impacts of disruptions like a pandemic. The question of how migration impacts land use change in rural areas is fundamental for understanding factors that impact food security and livelihoods. To address this question, this team of researchers will investigate how migration and land use in rural areas vary over time and across contexts; how the large-scale return of migrants has impacted land use; and how migration, livelihood activities, and land use correlate with resilience during the pandemic. By linking historical land cover data with detailed retrospective household survey data, the project will reveal how field-scale land cover dynamics interact with household- and community-dynamics over time and during periods of stress. Findings from this work will be shared with community stakeholders who face pressing and difficult questions about how to prepare and support rural communities during times of economic stress and transition. The data, methods and tools developed from this project will be widely available and are generalizable to rural settings.


University of Colorado


National Science Foundation




University of Colorado Boulder



Mallick, Bishawjit and Best, Kelsea and Carrico, Amanda and Ghosh, Tuhin and Priodarshini, Rup and Sultana, Zakia and Samanta, Gopa "How do migration decisions and drivers differ against extreme environmental events?" Environmental Hazards , 2023