Based on a case study in central Kyrgyzstan, this paper examines the links between the environment, rural livelihoods, and labor migration. The low diversity of income-generating activities in rural areas increases vulnerability to climate change impacts, other environmental stresses, and market failures. As a result, additional livelihood strategies such as labor migration and engagement in trade or other business ventures have become essential coping strategies for rural households. Remittances sent by migrants contribute not only to individual rural households but also to rural community development. Remittances help repay loans that have been taken out by households for different purposes, particularly for running or expanding farming and animal husbandry. When remittances are spent to increase livestock herds, the resulting intensive use of nearby pastures often leads to overgrazing and land degradation.
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