Common property systems are a critical institution mediating the relationship between population change and environmental outcomes, especially in coastal and marine ecosystems. Evidence from El Salvador; Goa, India; and the Solomon Islands demonstrates how the social structures and institutions stemming from patterns of human migration variably influence environmental out-comes through their effects on common property resource institutions. In each of the case studies, the demographic phenomenon is not population growth or a change in numbers, but an underlying process that affects population size and growth rates: i.e. migration and associated social relations that result from or cause more migration. The following 3 case studies provide the respective historical and cultural context to show that there is a nonlinear link between population and environment, which when explored reveals the importance of understanding how individuals and communities are embedded in sets of social relations that must be considered when evaluating environmental policies or when determining the causes of environmental degradation.
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