Upland Livelihoods between Local Land and Global Labour Market Dependencies: Evidence from Northern Chin State, Myanmar
Journal article, 2018

Livelihoods and agrarian change processes across upland South-East Asia have been

explored for decades. Yet, knowledge gaps remain about contemporary livelihood strategies

and land dependence in areas previously inaccessible to academic research, such as in upland

Myanmar. Moreover, new strands of inquiry arise with continued globalisation, e.g., into the effects

of remittances and labour migration on household incomes and livelihoods in distant upland areas.

This study applied clustering techniques to income accounts of 94 households from northern Chin

State, Myanmar to: (i) Identify households’ livelihood strategies; (ii) assess their dependence on

access to land and natural resources; and (iii) compare absolute and relative incomes across strategies.

We show that households engaged in six relatively distinct livelihood strategies: Relying primarily

on own farming activities; making a living off the land with mixed income from agriculture and

forest resources; engaging in wage employment; living from remittances; practicing non-forest tree

husbandry; or engaging in self-employed business activities. We found significant income inequalities

across clusters, with households engaging in remittance and wage-oriented livelihood strategies

realizing higher incomes than those primarily involved in land-based activities. Our findings point

to differentiated vulnerabilities associated with the identified livelihood strategies—to climate risks,

shifting land-governance regimes and labour market forces.

forest income

agrarian change


cluster analysis

livelihood strategies


household income

swidden agriculture



Laura Kmoch

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Matilda Palm

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Martin Persson

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Martin Rudbeck Jepsen


20711050 (eISSN)

Vol. 10 10 3707

Land-use dynamics and rural change in upland Myanmar

Chalmers, 2015-08-01 -- .

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Subject Categories

Agricultural Science


Human Geography



More information

Latest update

1/9/2019 1