New Research in Environmental Economics Selected for Publication by Prestigious Royal Society Journal

Dr. Merlin Hanauer Examines Socioeconomic and Ecological Impacts of Conservation Areas
February 29, 2016
Dr. Merlin Hanauer, Professor of Economics

Dr. Merlin Hanauer, Professor of Economics

Rohnert Park, CA - The School of Business and Economics (SBE) at Sonoma State University (SSU) announced that two articles by Dr. Merlin Hanauer, Professor of Economics, were selected for publication in the prestigious Philosophical Transactions B of the Royal Society, an  influential life sciences journal founded in 1660 and considered the world's longest running science publication. Professor Hanauer's articles, "Through What Mechanisms Do Protected Areas Affect Environmental and Social Outcomes," and "Implications of Heterogeneous Impacts of Protected Areas on Deforestation and Poverty," are included in the Journal's latest issue dedicated to examining and measuring the impact of conservation initiatives on societies and the natural environment.

"Our goal in these studies is to give scholars​ and practitioners a deeper understanding of the economics of conservation in order to design and implement protected areas that work for societies, communities, and their natural spaces. While the data demonstrates that nature conservation may reduce deforestation and poverty in developing economies, it also highlights a need to consider a diversity of socioeconomic and environmental impacts," Dr. Merlin Hanauer, Professor of Environmental Economics said.

Dr. Hanauer suggests a need for greater understanding of the effects and interactions of protected areas through further data collection and empirical research, though confirms previous findings that protected areas do not, on average, create or exacerbate issues of poverty where populations depend on the environment for sustenance. Historically, these groups were considered at risk of socioeconomic harm from the establishment of protected areas.

Previous studies show that protected areas positively impact impoverished areas through alternative employment opportunities in tourism, increased access to financial support from external organizations, and community development opportunities from market-based economic activity, including improved health care and communication services.

"Professor Hanauer's research provides insight at the leading edge of Environmental Economics. By addressing the use of natural resources from all sides, he examines the outcome of both protection and extraction on societies, economies, and the environment," Dr. Michael Visser, Chair of the Department of Economics said.

For more information regarding Dr. Merlin Hanauer and faculty research, or for information regarding degree programs in the School of Business and Economics, please contact (707) 664-2377, or visit