University of Wisconsin-Madison geography professor and Nelson Institute affiliate, Lisa Naughton led a recent study investigating how formalizing and legalizing gold mining operations might curb their negative environmental effects. The study, published in Environmental Research Letters, was co-authored by a group of UW–Madison alumnae including Nora Álvarez-Berríos and Jessica L’Roe and focused on the area surrounding the Tambopata National Reserve in Peru.
During the study, the team assessed satellite images to learn more about the environmental impact of mining and worked with local agencies to issue provisional titles to miners to ensure operations were safe. Unfortunately, the title process was time consuming and many miners began working before an environmental impact report was complete. Ultimately, no mining operations made it through the full compliance process during the study, but important lessons were learning in how to model a similar study in the future. Read more.