Missing links in the forest-migration nexus: An analysis of trends, literature and data sources

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This paper provides an overview of the current state of knowledge about migration and its relation to forests in Indonesia.

An evaluation of current patterns and trends of migration finds that while mobility is increasing nationally and internationally, there are strong variations across regions, age and gender. National-level findings do not offer much insight on regional- and local-level dynamics. An evaluation of data sources (subnational, national and international) on migration and remittances, shows that detailed data are collected on internal migration patterns. However, this does not capture short-term circular migration and internal remittances. Data collection efforts on international migration and remittances also leave room for improvement.

A review of the existing literature finds there is a large body of work on the drivers and effects of migration in Indonesia. However, much of this has focused on certain dimensions of migration (such as social or political or economic) in isolation, thereby preventing a multidimensional understanding of the relations between migration, forests and land-use change. Furthermore, there is a disproportionate focus on the effects of in-migration. While this is understandable in light of Indonesia’s history of state-sponsored transmigration and global concerns over deforestation in Indonesia’s forest frontiers, there is a dearth of research on the effects of migration on the people and forests left behind. As a result, critical questions remain unaddressed about land-use decisions, labor allocation and remittance investment.

This paper is a part of CIFOR’’s Migration and Forests research program to identify the role of migration and remittances in the changing context of forested landscapes.

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