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2011 UNECE/FAO PhD Thesis Award winner

Published: 03 October 2011


To mark the International Year of Forests, in early 2011 the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launched a PhD Thesis Award on Sustainable Forest Management in the UNECE region, sponsored by Pictet, one of Switzerland’s largest private banks.

On 10 October 2011, the first winner, Ms. Hongyu Ding from the University of Padova, will present her thesis and receive a prize of 10,000 USD dollars (which she has decided to donate to Somalia) during “Orman 2011: Forests in a Green Economy” in Antalya (Turkey) at the beginning of the Joint Session of the FAO European Forestry Commission (EFC) and the ECE Timber Committee (TC).

The winning doctoral dissertation on: “Economic Assessment of Climate Change Impacts on Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services and Human Well-Being: An Application to European Forest Ecosystems ” seeks solutions to some of the most challenging environmental and socio-economic research questions faced today by biologists, climate scientists, economists and policymakers, through an innovative methodology, which goes beyond the conventional economic approach. The overall findings provide a better understanding of the magnitude of regional climate change threats to European forest ecosystems, thus supporting Sustainable Forest Management decision-making in Europe and contributing to the work of ECE and FAO.

Over thirty eligible PhD theses were received and evaluated by a Panel led by Professor Paschalis from the Warsaw University of Life Sciences (SGGW), Poland and five other, well-known European academics, all of whom were approved by the elected officers of the EFC and TC.

After assessing all the abstracts, five finalists were selected: Mart-Jan Schelhaas from the University of Joensuu, Berit Hauger Lindstad from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Yun Wu from the North Carolina State University, Bernhard Wolfslehner from the University of Life Sciences and Natural Resources of Vienna and the winner: Hongyu Ding from the University of Padova.

Ms. Honyu Ding, also known as Helen Ding, holds a BA in Economics and Finance and has a M.Sc. in Environmental Science. In addition to her doctoral studies, Ms. Ding has considerable research experience from her work at the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) on the economic valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services, the economic assessment of climate change impacts and the socio-economic impacts of biodiversity policy. In April 2011 she obtained her PhD degree from the department of economics at Cà Foscari University of Venice with her innovative winning thesis.

For more information please contact:

Elisa Asmelash
UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section
Phone: +41 (0)22 9173296
e-mail: elisa.asmelash@unece.org


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