Will people in drylands be forced to migrate due to climate change and environmental degradation? And what impact does migration have on the environment and development in the migrants’ home and destination areas? These are some of the questions this study tries to answer. Based on local case study material among the Dagara people of Northwest Ghana and regional analyses of migration propensities and environmental scarcity, this study shows that structural differences in agro-ecological conditions – rather than degradation and disaster – are a principal cause of Dagara migration. The study further challenges alarming findings about deforestation and land degradation as a result of Dagara migration into the Brong Ahafo Region. Lastly, it shows that in the short term out-migration contributes to food and livelihood security in the home area, but in the long run it seems to thwart a transition to more sustainable land use and livelihoods and hamper rural development.