Shrestha, Binoj K., Dirgha J. Ghimire, and Dharma Raj Dangol. 2009. “Lahare Banmara (Mikania micrantha) ko Atikraman; Badhdo Chunauti.” Paryabaran 89:26-30.

Axinn, William G., and Ganesh P. Shivakoti. 1997. “Demographic Issues and the Use of Natural Resources.” Pp. 83-85 in People, Participation, and Sustainable Development: Understanding the Dynamics of Natural Resource Systems, edited by Shivakoti et al. Bloomington, Indiana and Rampur, Chitwan: Winrock International.

Axinn, William G., and Jennifer S. Barber. 2003. “Linking People and Land Use: A Sociological Perspective.” Pp. 285-313 in People and the Environment, edited by J. Fox, R.R. Rindfuss, S. Walsh, and V. Mishra. Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Publication Abstract

Link, Cynthia F., William G. Axinn, and Dirgha J. Ghimire. 2012. “Household Energy Consumption: Community Context and Fuelwood Transition.” Social Science Research 41:598-611.

We examine the influence of community context on change over time in households’ use of non-wood fuels. Our theoretical framework builds on sociological concepts in order to study energy consumption at the micro-level. The framework emphasizes the importance of nonfamily organizations and services in the local community as determinants of the transition from use of fuelwood to use of alternative fuels. We use multilevel longitudinal data on household fuel choice and community context from rural Nepal to provide empirical tests of our theoretical model. Results reveal that increased exposure to nonfamily organizations in the local community increases the use of alternative fuels. The findings illustrate key features of human impacts on the local environment and motivate greater incorporation of social organization into research on environmental change.

DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2011.12.007

PMCID: PMC3461177

Publication Abstract

Piotrowski, Martin, Dirgha J. Ghimire, and Ronald R. Rindfuss. 2013. “Farming Systems and Rural Out-Migration in Nang Rong, Thailand and Chitwan Valley, Nepal.” Rural Sociology 78(1):75-108.

Using data from two postfrontier rural settings, Nang Rong, Thailand (N = 2,538), and Chitwan Valley, Nepal (N = 876), this article examines agricultural push factors determining the out-migration of young people age 15 to 19. We focus on different dimensions of migration, including distance and duration. Our study examines a wide array of agricultural determinants, each with its own potential effect on migration. These determinants include land tenure, crop portfolios, animal husbandry activities, and use of farm inputs. We link these proximal causes to two underlying mechanisms: risk and amenities. We examine these determinants using separate models across settings. Our results indicate that agricultural factors are significant determinants of migration in both contexts. However, different factors operate in different settings, indicating the importance of contextual variation in explaining the manner in which risks and amenities influence agricultural determinants of migration.

DOI: 10.1111/ruso.12000

PMCID: PMC3963478

Publication Abstract

Carter, Neil H., Andrés Viña, Vanessa Hull, William McConnell, William G. Axinn, Dirgha J. Ghimire, and Jianguo Liu. 2014. “Coupled Human and Natural Systems Approach to Wildlife Research and Conservation.” Ecology and Society 19(3):43.

Conserving wildlife while simultaneously meeting the resource needs of a growing human population is a major sustainability challenge. As such, using combined social and environmental perspectives to understand how people and wildlife are interlinked, together with the mechanisms that may weaken or strengthen those linkages, is of utmost importance. However, such integrated information is lacking. To help fill this information gap, we describe an integrated coupled human and natural systems (CHANS) approach for analyzing the patterns, causes, and consequences of changes in wildlife population and habitat, human population and land use, and their interactions. Using this approach, we synthesize research in two sites, Wolong Nature Reserve in China and Chitwan National Park in Nepal, to explicate key relationships between people and two globally endangered wildlife conservation icons, the giant panda and the Bengal tiger. This synthesis reveals that local resident characteristics such as household socioeconomics and demography, as well as community-level attributes such as resource management organizations, affect wildlife and their habitats in complex and even countervailing ways. Human impacts on wildlife and their habitats are in turn modifying the suite of ecosystem services that they provide to local residents in both sites, including access to forest products and cultural values. These interactions are further complicated by human and natural disturbance (e.g., civil wars, earthquakes), feedbacks (including policies), and telecouplings (socioeconomic and environmental interactions over distances) that increasingly link the focal systems with other distant systems. We highlight several important implications of using a CHANS approach for wildlife research and conservation that is useful not only in China and Nepal but in many other places around the world facing similar challenges.

DOI: 10.5751/ES-06881-190343

Publication Abstract

An, Li, Alex Zvoleff, Jianguo Liu, and William G. Axinn. 2014. “Agent-Based Modeling in Coupled Human and Natural Systems (CHANS): Lessons from a Comparative Analysis.” Annals of the Association for American Geographers 104(4):723-745.

Coupled human and natural systems (CHANS) are characterized by many complex features, including feedback loops, nonlinearity and thresholds, surprises, legacy effects and time lags, and resilience. Agent-based models (ABMs) are powerful for handling such complexity in CHANS models, facilitating in-depth understanding of CHANS dynamics. ABMs have been employed mostly on a site-specific basis, however. Little of this work provides a common infrastructure with which CHANS researchers (especially nonmodeling experts) can comprehend, compare, and envision CHANS processes and dynamics. We advance the science of CHANS by developing a CHANS-oriented protocol based on the overview, design concepts, and details (ODD) framework to help CHANS modelers and other researchers build, document, and compare CHANS-oriented ABMs. Using this approach, we show how complex demographic decisions, environmental processes, and human–environment interaction in CHANS can be represented and simulated in a relatively straightforward, standard way with ABMs by focusing on a comparison of two world-renowned CHANS: the Wolong Nature Reserve in China and the Chitwan National Park in Nepal. The four key lessons we learn from this cross-site comparison in relation to CHANS models include how to represent agents and the landscape, the need for standardized modules for CHANS ABMs, the impacts of scheduling on model outcomes, and precautions in interpreting “surprises” in CHANS model outcomes. We conclude with a CHANS protocol in the hope of advancing the science of CHANS.

DOI: 10.1080/00045608.2014.910085

Publication Abstract

Brauner-Otto, Sarah R., and William G. Axinn. 2017. “Natural Resource Collection and Desired Family Size: A Longitudinal Test of Environment-population Theories.” Population and Environment 38(4):381-406.

Theories relating the changing environment to human fertility predict that declining natural resources may actually increase the demand for children. Unfortunately, most previous empirical studies have been limited to cross-sectional designs that limit our ability to understand links between processes that change over time. We take advantage of longitudinal measurement spanning more than a decade of change in the natural environment, household agricultural behaviors, and individual fertility preferences to reexamine this question. Using fixed effect models, we find that women experiencing increasing time required to collect firewood to heat and cook or fodder to feed animals (the dominant needs for natural resources in this setting) increased their desired family size, even as many other macro-level changes have reduced desired family size. In contrast to previous, cross-sectional studies, we find no evidence of such a relationship for men. Our findings regarding time spent collecting firewood are also new. These results support the “vicious circle” perspective and economic theories of fertility pointing to the value of children for household labor. This feedback from natural resource constraint to increased fertility is an important mechanism for understanding long-term environmental change.

DOI: 10.1007/s11111-016-0267-6

PMCID: PMC5608093

Publication Abstract

Massey, Douglas S., William G. Axinn, and Dirgha J. Ghimire. 2010. “Environmental Change and Out-Migration: Evidence from Nepal.” Population and Environment 32(2):109-136.

Scholars and activists have hypothesized a connection between environmental change and out-migration. In this paper, we test this hypothesis using data from Nepal. We operationalize environmental change in terms of declining land cover, rising times required to gather organic inputs, increasing population density, and perceived declines in agricultural productivity. In general, environmental change is more strongly related to short- than long-distance moves. Holding constant the effects of other social and economic variables, we find that local moves are predicted by perceived declines in productivity, declining land cover, and increasing time required to gather firewood. Long-distance moves are predicted by perceived declines in productivity, but the effect is weaker than in the model of short-distance mobility. We also show that effects of environmental change vary by gender and ethnicity, with women being more affected by changes in the time required to gather fodder and men by changes in the time to gather firewood, and high-caste Hindus generally being less affect than others by environmental change.

DOI: 10.1007/s11111-010-0119-8

PMCID: PMC3042700

Publication Abstract

Ghimire, Dirgha J., and William G. Axinn. 2010. “Community Context, Land Use and First Birth.” Rural Sociology 75(3):478-513.

This paper examines the influence of community context and land use on the monthly odds of first birth in a society in the midst of dramatic fertility transition. The theoretical framework guiding our work predicts that proximity to non-family services should delay first births by creating opportunities for competing non-family activities and spreading new ideas that change expectations about family life. On the other hand, living in agricultural settings that provide opportunities for higher returns to the child labor should speed first births. We use a longitudinal, multilevel, mixed-method data from the Nepalese Himalayas to test these predictions. The empirical results reveal that non-family services during childhood and during early adulthood both have important independent influences on the odds of first birth. Also, as predicted, a high density of agricultural land use affects the odds of first births in the opposite direction, speeding first births. This clear pattern of contrasting effects provides important new evidence of the contextual dynamics that produce watershed changes in post-marital birth timing.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1549-0831.2010.00019.x

PMCID: PMC2945390