Lisa Rausch

Associate Researcher


Lisa is a geographer with expertise examining the drivers of agricultural expansion and the cultural, social, and institutional factors that promote or inhibit conservation-positive behaviors among agricultural actors. She completed her PhD in Geography at the University of Kansas in the Spring of 2013, and she also holds a Master’s degree in Latin American Studies from KU.

In 2011, she was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to conduct dissertation research in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, where she carried out an in-depth case study on structural and individual changes in a farming community that has been profoundly transformed by forces of globalization and by targeted efforts to improve environmental licensing rates in the agriculture industry. Her results suggest that public commitments to conservation from influential organizations, companies, and other individuals reduce social anxiety among farmers about conservation efforts. She was also able to show how certain practical changes to the licensing process, such as facilitating farmers’ acquisition of maps of their properties, and the creation of a provisional license with a low barrier to entry and that provides farmers specific instructions about how to become fully compliant, may empower farmers to pursue environmental licensing as a risk-reducing behavior.

In June 2013, Lisa joined the Gibbs Land Use and Environment Lab as the lead post-doctoral researcher in a project that investigates deforestation-free supply chains in Mato Grosso. Components of this research include developing methods to map the soy supply chain, working with industry leaders and policymakers to improve product traceability and reduce compliance costs, and on-going field interviews with soy producers and other stakeholders in Mato Grosso and elsewhere in Brazil. In her free time, Lisa enjoys cooking a new recipe every time, honing her accordion skills, and relaxing at home with her husband and her dog.