Environmentally induced migration in West China

Yan Tan, Flinders University
Fei Guo, Macquarie University

In China a substantial part of the country has been classified as ‘ecologically fragile’ zones. These zones are environments with little resistance to external disturbance, are unstable and sensitive to population pressure and have a low capacity to support human settlement. West China in particular is already experiencing severe environmental degradation associated with soil erosion, desertification, deforestation, water shortage, degradation of grasslands, overgrazing and the impact of mining activity. Some 1.2 million environmental migrants were displaced from the fragile environments in West China between 2000 and 2005. In 2002 environment related migration and resettlement became an official policy of the Chinese Government and a plan to displace 1.5 million people in west China over a 5-year period to 2010. This paper reviews the major environmental problems in the ecological fragile areas in west China, and examines how they impact the mobility of populations living in them.

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Presented in Session 108: Environment-induced migrants (1)