William Laurance, a Distinguished Professor and Australian Laureate at James Cook University in Cairns is to receive the 2012 Heineken Prize for Environmental Science. The Heineken Prizes are among the largest awards in the sciences, presented biennially for medicine, history, environmental sciences and cognitive sciences. Eleven former Heineken winners have gone on to become Nobel Laureates. The award recognises Laurance’s research on the effects of habitat fragmentation, deforestation, hunting and fire on the Amazon, as well as his work as a science communicator, making an important contribution to public debate on the preservation of the South American rainforest. The Heineken Prize is awarded by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is funded by the Alfred Heineken Fondsen Foundation. The award includes a personal award of $US150,000, some of which Laurance plans to donate to scientific and nature conservation endeavours. He will travel to Amsterdam to receive the award in September. With other prize winners he will also undertake a lecture tour of the Netherlands.
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