Office: Saunders 308
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Population, environment and development; survey and statistical methods
I am a population and human-environment geographer interested in the interactions between rural livelihoods, household well-being and environmental change in the developing world. As described below, my research has investigated environmental influences on human migration around the world, indigenous livelihoods in the Ecuadorian Amazon, and human dimensions of soil degradation in rural Uganda. My methodological expertise is in the use of survey, statistical and demographic methods, approaches which have not been widely applied to these topics within geography. For more information see my CV, my Google Scholar profile, and this bio piece about me by the Carolina Population Center.
One research strand focuses on the consequences of environmental change for human migration, including both internal and international migration. This issue has gained considerable attention in the context of global climate change and recent large-scale natural disasters, and a growing number of studies have used demographic and statistical methods to investigate these relationships. Together these studies confirm that environmental factors have important influences on migration, but the results are not consistent with Neo-Malthusian predictions that environmental degradation will universally displace permanent migrants over long distances.
A second strand of research focuses on the changing livelihood strategies, land use and demographic behavior of indigenous peoples in the northern Ecuadorian Amazon, a highly biodiverse region that is threatened by oil exploration and agricultural expansion. This work draws on a unique longitudinal household survey conducted with 500 households in 32 indigenous communities in 2001 and again in 2012. Ongoing analyses of these data will investigate changing fertility and migration patterns as well as agricultural and forest harvesting practices.
My third and newest research strand, funded by a grant from NSF, will investigate relationships between soil degradation, rural livelihoods, and household well-being in Uganda. Building on a baseline study conducted in 2003, we reinterviewed 700 households and resampled 2000 agricultural plots in 2013 to measure changes to both soils and households. Future analyses will investigate the drivers and consequences of soil degradation from the perspectives of population geography, development economics, and soil science.
Gray, C., E. Frankenberg, T. Gillepsie, C. Sumantri and D. Thomas. (In press). Studying displacement after a disaster using large scale survey methods: Sumatra after the 2004 tsunami. Annals of the Association of American Geographers. [Draft]
Baird, T., and C. Gray. (In press). Livelihood diversification and shifting social networks of exchange: A social network transition? World Development. [Abstract]
Mueller, V., C. Gray, and K. Kosec . (2014). Heat stress increases long-term human migration in rural Pakistan. Nature Climate Change doi:10.1038/nclimate2103 . [Link] [Coverage in Simple Climate, Scientific American and Smithsonian Magazine]
Gray, C., and R. Bilsborrow. (2014). Consequences of out-migration for land use in rural Ecuador. Land Use Policy 36: 182–191. [Link]
Gray, C. and R. Bilsborrow. (2013). Environmental influences on human migration in rural Ecuador. Demography 50(4): 1217-1241. [Link]
Gray, C. (2010). Gender, natural capital and migration in the southern Ecuadorian Andes. Environment and Planning A 42(3): 678-696. [Link]
Lu, F., C. Gray, R. Bilsborrow, C. Mena, J. Bremner, A. Barbieri, C. Erlien, and S. Walsh. (2010). Contrasting colonist and indigenous impacts on Amazonian forests. Conservation Biology 24(3): 881-885. [Link]
Gray, C. (2009). Environment, land and rural out-migration in the southern Ecuadorian Andes. World Development 37(2): 457-468. [Link]
Gray, C. (2009). Rural out-migration and smallholder agriculture in the southern Ecuadorian Andes. Population and Environment 30(4): 193-217. [Link]
Gray, C., R. Bilsborrow, J. Bremner, and F. Lu. (2008). Indigenous land use in the Ecuadorian Amazon: A cross-cultural and multilevel analysis. Human Ecology 36(1): 97-109. [Link]
Rindfuss, R., B. Entwisle, S. Walsh, C. Mena, C. Erlien, and C. Gray. (2007). Frontier land use: Synthesis, challenges, and next steps. The Annals of the Association of American Geographers 97(4): 739-754. [Link]
Gray, C., M. Bozigar, and R. Bilsborrow. (2014). Wild resource use in the Ecuadorian Amazon: A multi-ethnic and longitudinal approach. Paper to be presented to the Association of American Geographers and the Population Association of America. Tampa, April 8-12 and Boston, May 1-3. [Abstract]
Bozigar, M., C. Gray, and R. Bilsborrow. (2014). Oil extraction and indigenous livelihoods in the northern Ecuadorian Amazon: A longitudinal and multilevel analysis. Paper to be presented to the Association of American Geographers. Tampa, April 8-12. [Abstract]
Jennings, J., and C. Gray. (2013). Climate variability and human migration in the 19th century Netherlands. Paper presented to the Population Association of America, New Orleans, LA, April 11-13. [Draft]
Davis, J., C. Gray, and R Bilsborrow. (2013). Ecuadorian Amazon indigenous fertility dynamics revisited: Why sizable contraceptive uptake has not dampened high fertility. Poster to be presented to the Population Association of America, New Orleans, LA, April 11-13. [Abstract]
Frankenberg, E. , C. Gray, C. Sumantri, and D. Thomas. (2011). Return migration after the tsunami in Indonesia. Paper presented to the Population Association of America. Washington DC, March 31-April 2. [Abstract]
Gray, C. (2013). Human migration in a changing climate. Book review essay. Global Environmental Politics 13(1): 128-132. [Link]
Gray, C. (2008). Out-migration and rural livelihoods in the southern Ecuadorian Andes. Doctoral dissertation in the UNC-CH Department of Geography. [Open access]
GEOG 120 World Regional Geography: Fall 2007 Syllabus
GEOG 450 Population, Environment and Development: Fall 2013 Syllabus
ECOL 569 Current Issues in Ecology
Postdoc: Jason Davis
PhD: Maia Call
Masters: Matt Bozigar
Prospective graduate students interested in population, development and the environment should contact me well ahead of the application deadline by sending a CV and statement of research interests. Well-qualified students will have a degree in geography, demography or another cognate field, field experience in the developing world, and/or training in quantitative methods.
Population and Environment (journal)