The Ecological Society of America selected School of Earth Sciences Dean PAMELA MATSON to receive its 2013 Sustainability Science Award, given to the authors of a scholarly work that makes the greatest contribution to the emerging science of ecosystem and regional sustainability through the integration of ecological and social sciences.
Matson and a team of 14 interdisciplinary researchers, including seven affiliates of the Freeman Spogli Institute’s Center on Food Security and the Environment, documented 15 years of agricultural development in the Yaqui Valley, Mexico, one of the most intensive agricultural regions of the world, and its transition to more sustainable management. Matson is editor of the 2011 book, Seeds of Sustainability: Lessons from the Birthplace of the Green Revolution, that reflects the team’s findings and insights.
The Sustainability Science Award subcommittee credited the book with tackling “a central challenge of sustainable development: agricultural modernization.” Members added, “It is cutting edge not because the issue itself is new, but rather the level of integration the authors attempted and the innovative process they used. The volume summarizes the findings and reflects on the process of a highly interdisciplinary team of researchers, integrating perspectives from biogeochemistry, atmospheric sciences, land-use change, institutions, agronomy, economics and knowledge systems.” The book, the subcommittee said, “demonstrates both originality and critical reflectiveness in its efforts to engage practitioners in the conceptualization and execution of its research, and the implementation of its findings. And almost uniquely in our collective experience, it speaks seriously, frankly and insightfully to the challenges of institutionalizing the sort of work it reports on.”