Migration, markets, and mangrove resource use in Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia

Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia, is a prototype of an island economy prone to economic crowding. Average family size is large, the habitable land area is small, economic activity is limited, and household dependence on natural resources for fuel and food is high. We analyze how economic crowding - and its mitigation through trade and migration policies - affects mangrove resource use. A comparison of household survey data from 1996 and 2000 indicates that despite decreases in US aid and public-sector jobs, average household consumption of mangrove resources has not increased. Migration and remittances have allowed the purchase of imported fuel and building materials substituting for mangrove wood. Despite changing preferences and shifts toward import consumption, population growth and further declines in US financial support will likely cause aggregate demand for mangrove and upland wood to rise. Moreover, continued emigration may accelerate the export of mangrove crabs to off-island Kosraeans.