New Paper from AC4 Director and EPS Team

Photo: Figure from the publication as featured in Sustainability; A map of Tambopata National Reserve (dark green) and its Buffer Zone (light green) located in the Madre de Dios region of Southeast Peru, and their connectivity in relation to encroaching roads.

Conserving Tropical Forests: Can Sustainable Livelihoods Outperform Artisanal or Informal Mining” authored by  Dr. Joshua Fisher, Dr. Poonam Aurora, and Sophia Rhee is now available in Sustainability. The paper discusses conservation efforts and presents a pilot study building on recent research in the Peruvian Amazon from the Environment, Peace and Sustainability initiative.

The viability of conservation efforts, including protected areas and buffer zones, depends on finding ways to make those strategies more attractive and viable for local populations. This paper presents a pilot study utilizing a rapid rural appraisal of livelihoods in the buffer zone of Tambopata National Reserve in Madre de Dios, Peru, threatened by illegal gold mining and logging. We evaluated three predominant economic activities—artisanal gold mining, Brazil nut harvesting, and fish farming—in terms of potential economic returns. The main research question we ask is whether the latter two potentially sustainable land uses can match or exceed the returns from mining. Contrary to popular belief, we find that enhancing value creation at product origin could make existing forest-friendly livelihoods as or more lucrative than extractive ones. This has implications on local conservation policy encouraging implementable strategies incentivizing sustainable livelihoods in tandem with, and in support of, conservation goals.

Read the full paper:

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