Can glacial retreat lead to migration? A critical discussion of the impact of glacier shrinkage upon population mobility in the Bolivian Andes

Raoul, Kaenzig

In: Population and Environment, 2015, vol. 36, no. 4, p. 480-496

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    This article examines the role of glacial retreat on human migration in the Bolivian Andes—a topic with virtually no scholarly focus, yet of critical importance in the era of global climate change. Glacial melting has increased since the 1980s, and popular reports often suggest there will be significant impacts on local populations, including migration. Based on interviews with local residents, both migrants and nonmigrants, as well as topical experts, this study suggests that residents do, indeed, have serious concerns about future livelihood conditions in the Bolivian Andes. Even so, glacial retreat has not triggered new migration flows and has had a limited impact on the existing migratory patterns.