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Panel D: Governance for Climate Change (2)

Location: Rm. 3033

Adithi Reddy, “Forests, fisheries, and fields: Investigating the nexus between mangrove deforestation, climate change, and modern slavery in Southeast Asia”

Undergraduate Student, UNC-Chapel Hill

Keywords: biodiversity, palm oil, modern slavery

The mangrove forests of Southeast Asia are highly beneficial ecosystems that provide numerous ecological, economic, and social benefits. In addition to enhancing biodiversity, fishery production, and coastal protection, mangrove forests act as the highest-density carbon sink globally. This unique capability stems from mangroves’ ability to store substantial amounts of carbon in both their above-ground biomass and below-ground soils, making them invaluable contributors to carbon sequestration and climate mitigation efforts. Mangrove forests have experienced extensive deforestation due to global demand for commodities and pressure from climate change, particularly in two key sectors: fisheries and fields. Unsustainable and vigorous production practices throughout Southeast Asia have intensified the clearing of these forests for the expansion of aquaculture, fishing, and palm oil production. The region experiences economic pressures from ever-diminishing returns, contributing to an increased prevalence of modern slavery. To cut costs due to depleting natural resources, industries are relying on unjust labor practices that take advantage of and abuse their workers. This paper will explore the tightly connected and tri-directional relationships between mangrove degradation, climate change, and modern slavery in Southeast Asia as it relates to the palm oil industry in Indonesia and the fishing industry in Thailand. Additionally, the research seeks to offer solutions to address these pressing issues.

Sophia Graybill, “Moving Out and Moving In: Effects of Migration on Women’s Engagement in Community Forestry in the Middle Hills of Nepal”

Graduate Student, Department of Geography and Environment, UNC-Chapel Hill

Keywords: migration Nepal, women livelihoods, community forestry

Rural out-migration is changing the socio-economic condition of households engaged in Nepal’s Community Forestry (CF) program. These changes are distinctly gendered, as most Nepali migrants are men while women generally remain in-situ to manage the household. While women may leverage the absence of male family members engage more in CF, they often increase and diversify their workload to fill the labor gap left by migrants, reducing time available for CF. Complicating this dynamic are remittances which may free-up women’s time for CF while concurrently reducing their dependence on forests and investment in the CF program. Consequently, it is unclear if and how women’s ability and desire to participate in CF shifts as a culture of migration stabilizes in rural Nepal.

To address this uncertainty, this study analyzes household survey and focus group data collected in Pyuthan and Salyan districts of Nepal in 2023 to assess the impacts of migration on non-migrant women’s time allocation and to explore how women perceive migration and their futures in CF. Preliminary findings suggest that migration takes a material and emotional toll on non-migrant women, but these effects are motivating women to invest more in CF with the goal of transforming the program into a lucrative livelihood alternative to migration. Thus, CF has become an intimate part of women’s resistance to what they perceive as ‘forced’ rural out-migration.