Effects of Rural-Urban Labour Migration on Household Forest Management in the Context of Rural Reform and Development in China
ABSTRACT: Rural-urban labour migration has the potential to significantly transform forest owners’ forestry management strategies and influence forest resources in the long term. This study examined the effects of rural-urban labour migration on household forestland exit decisions (i.e. forestland abandonment and forestland transfer), investment decisions (capital and labour), and forest income (absolute and relative) based on data collected in 2011 and 2016 from 563 rural households in seven counties of Sichuan Province, China. The results show that rural-urban labour migration significantly increases the probability of forestland abandonment, and the net transfer rate of forestland, especially when the migrants are post-adolescent (age 30–45) women. Furthermore, rural-urban labour migration was found to have little influence on forest capital investment intensity, but significant negative influences on labour investment intensity, and both forest income and reliance. These results provide new insights about the impact of rural-urban labour migration on forest management and will be helpful in designing alternative policies to promote rural-urban labour migration and enhancement of forest management.