A framework to link climate change, food security, and migration: unpacking the agricultural pathway

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC


Researchers have long hypothesized linkages between climate change, food security, and migration in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). One such hypothesis is the “agricultural pathway,” which postulates that negative climate change impacts on food production harm livelihoods, which triggers rural out-migration, internally or abroad. Migration is thus an adaptation to cope with the impacts of climate change and bolster livelihoods. Recent evidence suggests that the agriculture pathway is a plausible mechanism to explain climate-related migration. But direct causal connections from climate impacts on food production to livelihood loss to rural out-migration have yet to be fully established. To guide future research on the climate-food-migration nexus, we present a conceptual framework that outlines the components and linkages underpinning the agricultural pathway in LMICs. We build on established environmental-migration conceptual frameworks that have informed empirical research and deepened our understanding of complex human-environmental systems. First, we provide an overview of the conceptual framework and its connection to the agricultural pathway hypothesis in the climate mobility literature. We then outline the primary components and linkages of the conceptual framework as they pertain to LMIC contexts, highlighting current research gaps and challenges relating to the agricultural pathway. Last, we discuss possible future research directions for the climate-food-migration nexus. By highlighting the complex, multiscale, interconnected linkages that underpin the agricultural pathway, our framework unpacks the multiple causal connections that currently lie hidden in the agricultural pathway hypothesis.


cc-by ; https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/


climate change, food security, low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), agricultural pathway


Tuholske, C., Di Landro, M.A., Anderson, W. et al. A framework to link climate change, food security, and migration: unpacking the agricultural pathway. Popul Environ 46, 8 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11111-024-00446-7
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