SSU professor earns prestigious Cozzarelli Prize
Hanauer wins with paper on poverty and deforestation
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Merlin Hanauer, assistant professor of economics at Sonoma State University, has earned the prestigious Cozzarelli Prize for an article demonstrating how protected regions – areas that have been closed off to protect the environment – have affected both poverty and deforestation in Costa Rica and Thailand.

The Cozzarelli Prize is sponsored by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) to acknowledge papers published during the year in PNAS that demonstrate the highest scientific excellence and originality.

Hanauer and his co-authors' article was one of six chosen for the award out of 3,500 articles published last year. It was awarded in the category of Applied Biological, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

In their research paper entitled, "Conditions Associated With Protected Area Success in Conservation and Poverty Reduction," Hanauer and co-authors Paul J. Ferraro and Katharine R.E. Sims addressed concerns about "poverty traps."

Governments which close off an area providing resources and land to a historically poor community may inadvertently develop restrictions which could act to keep them in poverty. The team found surprising results.

"Some of the poorest communities at baseline have actually had the most positive response to the establishment of protected areas," Hanauer explained in a podcast following the ceremony.

He and his colleagues have also created sustainability maps that show graphically where to place future protected areas to ensure both less deforestation and less poverty.

One of the primary goals of this research was to introduce a framework for studying protected areas which can be implemented worldwide.

The annual award was established in 2005 and named the Cozzarelli Prize in 2007 to honor late PNAS Editor-in-Chief Nicholas R. Cozzarelli. Prizes are awarded in the six broadly defined classes under which the National Academy of Sciences is organized.

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