Louise Fortmann, a professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, has been honored with the 2012 Distinguished Rural Sociologist Award, the highest award bestowed by the Rural Sociological Society on its members.
The Society honored her commitment to scholarship aimed at improving rural livelihoods, mentoring students, and championing participatory natural resource management. Her nomination highlighted more than three decades at the forefront of identifying cutting edge issues in rural sociology, and finding innovative, creative and practical ways to bring them to her teaching, research and on-the-ground interaction with both scholars and rural peoples and communities.
The Society noted Fortmann’s path-breaking work on forest and tree tenure, and her leadership in developing the founding academic literature on the complexity of and critical need to understand forest and tree tenure systems before embarking on social and community forestry efforts. She also brought into conversations, development projects and academic literature the variable ways gender plays out in these tenure systems with important implications for resource access, control and management. She brought social science and especially living rural sociologists into meaningful conversation and partnerships with silviculturalists and forestry planners both across the globe and at home.
The award will be presented on July 28 at the 75th anniversary meeting of the Rural Sociological Society in Chicago.