Hecht Awarded Medal by American Geographical Society
Susanna Hecht, professor of urban planning at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, was recently awarded the prestigious David Livingstone Centenary Medal by the American Geographical Society. Hecht is a geographer who also holds appointments in UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, and the UCLA Department of Geography. She was honored by the institution, established in 1851, for her nearly three decades of pioneering research focused on land use change in the tropics, primarily in the Amazon rain forest. “Dr. Hecht is widely recognized as a preeminent authority on forest transitions and sustainable agriculture,” according to an AGS press release. “She is one of the founding thinkers of the field of political ecology, which integrates humanities, policy and social justice in its approach to issues.” The organization also noted Hecht’s “sophisticated comprehension of deforestation” and how it interacts with migration, the ecosystem and the possibilities of alternative economies. Hecht, who is also professor of international history at the Graduate Institute of International and Developmental Studies in Geneva, is the author of a number of books on the Amazon. Her 2013 work, “The Scramble for the Amazon and the Lost Paradise of Euclides da Cunha,” won the 2015 American Historical Association’s Best Book in Environmental History Award. “Susanna’s work on the Amazon exemplifies geography’s contributions to changing tropical conditions. She understands how economics, culture and land use operate in a society to reflect and change the environment,” said Deborah Popper, AGS vice president and chair of the Honors and Exploration Committee, which bestowed the award.
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