Migration connects land use in areas of origin with areas of new residence, impacting both through individual, gendered choices on the use of land, labor, and knowledge. Synthesizing across two case studies in Indonesia, we focus on five aspects: (i) conditions within the community of origin linked to the reason for people to venture elsewhere, temporarily or permanently; (ii) the changes in the receiving community and its environment, generally in rural areas with lower human population density; (iii) the effect of migration on land use and livelihoods in the areas of origin; (iv) the dynamics of migrants returning with different levels of success; and (v) interactions of migrants in all four aspects with government and other stakeholders of development policies. In-depth interviews and focus group discussions in the study areas showed how decisions vary with gender and age, between individuals, households, and groups of households joining after signs of success. Most of the decision making is linked to perceived poverty, natural resource and land competition, and emergencies, such as natural disasters or increased human conflicts. People returning successfully may help to rebuild the village and its agricultural and agroforestry systems and can invest in social capital (mosques, healthcare, schools).
- Returning migrants