Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


Examining the Effects of Artisanal, Small-scale Gold Mining on Livelihood Assets in Kedougou, Senegal Public Deposited

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  • The frontlines of climate change adaptation will occur in rural, impoverished regions of the world where households engage in climatically dependent livelihoods, such as peasant agriculture or pastoralism. As changing climate and changing markets affect the suite of household livelihood assets (environmental, social, and economic) which enable a household to pursue particular livelihoods and make life meaningful. In response to these changes, peasant farmers may find themselves forced to adapt to via livelihood diversification and migration. In Kedougou, Senegal, one of the only alternative livelihoods capable of supporting a household is artisanal, small-scale gold mining. In turn, the outcomes of these adaptation strategies may also affect livelihood assets. Using a mixed methods approach, this research project aimed to understand how diversification into artisanal, small-scale gold mining (ASGM) affects household assets. Remotely sensed imagery was used to show that ASGM negatively impacts environmental assets through the spatial growth and attendant negative environmental impact that boom towns near gold mines have, decreasing vegetative cover. Interviews were conducted to find that miners reduce social assets through neglect of communal social reciprocity. Economically, miners may earn sufficient money, though the odds are increasingly slim of this happening. As such, ASGM is most likely a maladaptation to climate and market change, and policy should be crafted which protects the viability, health, and dignity of peasant farmers as well as artisanal miners and their livelihoods.
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