A qualitative study on how perceptions of environmental changes are linked to migration in Morocco, Senegal, and DR Congo

Lore Van Praag*, Samuel Lietaer, Caroline Michellier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Environmental migration is a growing concern of academics and policymakers, who foresee a rise in the number of such migrants. However, most prevailing academic and policy discourses ignore the variety of perceptions of environmental changes among people living in highly affected areas across the world. We examine the perceptions of environmental changes and how these are seen to be relevant to migration in Senegal, DR Congo, and Morocco. In total, we conducted 410 interviews with people living in two regions in each of these countries. Results indicate differences in the perception of environmental changes across regions, gender, education, and livelihoods. The economic activities of individuals determine exposure and sensitivity to environmental changes, while educational levels increase familiarity with prevailing environmental discourses and policies. Despite country-specific and regional differences across research sites, few people perceived environmental factors as directly related to their own or family members’ migration projects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-361
Number of pages15
JournalHuman Ecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by BELSPO under the Brain.be programme under Grant Agreement number BR/175/A4/MIGRADAPT (Acronym: MIGRADAPT).

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Moussa Bald?, Tdiane Dia, Mamadou San? and Coumba Ndoffene Faye for their fieldwork contributions in Senegal. We would like also to thank Noel Kabuyaya for the fieldwork in DR Congo and Theodore Trefon for his relevant inputs regarding the global situation in this country. We also would like to thank BELSPO for providing us the opportunity to conduct this research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


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