Urban Planning professor Susanna Hecht has been selected to receive a major award in the field of geography.
The Carl O. Sauer Award, given annually by the Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers, is given to "leading authorities" for "a corpus of important published work or other significant contribution towards Latin American geography," according to the Conference. Hecht, whose work on the deforestation of the Amazon basin led to the founding of the field of political ecology, most recently wrote The Scramble for the Amazon and the Lost Paradise of Euclides da Cunha.
Kent Mathewson, a professor of geography at Louisiana State University who chairs the Conference's honors committee, said that Hecht's "outstanding" books played a role in her selection. Scramble for the Amazon and her "classic" book The Fate of the Forest: Destroyers, Developers and Defenders of the Amazon, co-authored with Alexander Cockburn, "recommended her highly for this award," he said.
Carl O. Sauer, who in his New York Times obituary was called the "Dean of Geographers," is generally considered the pre-eminent cultural geographer of the 20th Century. A professor at UC Berkeley and author of the seminal paper "The Morphology of Landscape," he was the founding figure of the "Berkeley School" of cultural and historical geography.
The Sauer award, inaugurated in 1986, is considered the most prestigious honor given by the Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers. Previous Sauer award winners include National Academy of Science fellows Karl W. Butzer and B.L. Turner II, and UCLA geographer Judith Carney.