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. Specifically my research has investigated (1) environmental influences on human migration in various countries, (2) indigenous livelihoods in the Ecuadorian Amazon, and (3) human dimensions of soil degradation in rural Uganda. My methodological expertise is in the use of survey, statistical and demographic methods, a set of approaches which complements previous work in the field which has primarily used spatial and qualitative methods. For more information, see below and also this bio piece by the Carolina Population Center.
ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES ON HUMAN MIGRATION
One research strand focuses on the consequences of environmental change and variability 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, but as of yet relatively few quantitative studies have investigated these processes. My research has investigated these relationships in the context of Ecuador, East Africa, Bangladesh, and post-tsunami Indonesia. Key collaborators on this work include Richard Bilsborrow, Valerie Mueller, Duncan Thomas and Elizabeth Frankenberg. 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.
Gray, C. and R. Bilsborrow. (2013). Environmental influences on human migration in rural Ecuador. Demography in press. [Link]
Gray, C. (2010). Gender, natural capital and migration in the southern Ecuadorian Andes. Environment and Planning A 42(3): 678-696. [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]
Jennings, J., and C. Gray. (2013). Climate variability and human migration in the 19th century Netherlands. Paper to be presented to the Population Association of America, New Orleans, LA, April 11-13. [Abstract]
Mueller, V., C. Gray, and K. Kosec . (2013). Population mobility and monsoon anomalies in Pakistan. Paper to be presented to the Population Association of America, New Orleans, LA, April 11-13. [Abstract]
Gray, C., and R. Bilsborrow. (2012). Consequences of out-migration for land use in rural Ecuador. Paper presented to the Association of American Geographers, New York, February 24-28. [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., E. Frankenberg, T. Gillepsie, C. Sumantri and D. Thomas. (2009). Tsunami-induced displacement in Sumatra, Indonesia. Paper presented to the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population. Marrakech, September 27-October 2. [Link]
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]
INDIGENOUS LIVELIHOODS IN THE ECUADORIAN AMAZON
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 34 indigenous communities in 2001 and again in 2012. My key collaborator on this work is Richard Bilsborrow, who was PI of the 2001 survey. Ongoing multivariate analyses of these data will investigate changing fertility and migration patterns as well as agricultural and forest harvesting practices.
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., 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]
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]
HUMAN DIMENSIONS OF SOIL DEGRADATION IN RURAL UGANDA
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, in 2013 we will reinterview 850 households and resample 2000 agricultural plots to measures soil and household changes. My Co-PIs on this project are Ephraim Nkonya, Kayuki Kaizzi and Darrell Schulze.
GEOG 120 World Regional Geography: Fall 2007 Syllabus
GEOG 450 Population, Environment and Development: Fall 2011 Syllabus
Postdoc: Jason Davis
Masters/PhD: Matt Bozigar, Maia Call
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)