Livelihoods, land-use and leverage points: Migration and environmental stress in Sundarbans.

Supervisors: Tim Daw, David Collste (Stockholm University, Sweden)
Dynamics of out-migration in Sundarbans entail complex relations between socio-economicfactors and different societal and environmental drivers. By exploring such relationships bythe use of System Dynamics models, we can increase our systems understanding and analysepotential trade-offs and synergies concerning migration and land-use change. Yet, many ofthe analyses to date have been focusing on quantifying separate and often isolated aspectsof migration. This research therefore attempts to contribute to a more systemic andintegrated understanding using System Dynamics, with a specific focus on the seasonaloutmigration behaviour and system structure of a paradigm dynamic approach. Along withland-use change and climate change impacts, lack of livelihood and poverty in Sundarbansis expected to increase in 2050. In this thesis, I use two system dynamic models – CausalLoop Diagram and a Stock and Flow model to explore an analysis that suggests that theenabling and hindering factors for mobility decisions are strongly influenced by land-usechange and employment opportunities in Sundarbans. Furthermore, in the scenario analysis,environmental stresses like cyclone intensification may have a minimal effect on seasonaloutmigration. The results outline how these different processes are interrelated, allowing forthe identification of high order leverage points and promoting understanding of mobilitydecisions in the Sundarbans. The perception of seasonal migrants is identified as a strongleverage point to be investigated in further studies, it could be effectively utilized forstakeholders and public policy.