Leopold-Hidy Article Award

The Leopold-Hidy Award annually recognizes superior scholarship in the quarterly journal Environmental History, which the Forest History Society and the American Society for Environmental History copublish.

Award Details

The Forest History Society (FHS) and the American Society for Environmental History (ASEH) annually present the Leopold-Hidy Award to honor the best article in the journal they copublish, Environmental History. When evaluating selections, the journal's editorial board considers a number of criteria, including: elegance of the writing, insightfulness of the argument, novelty of the premise, and rigorousness of the scholarship.

The Forest History Society first began presenting an annual award for the best article in its journal in 1972. The FHS Ralph W. Hidy Award was named in honor of Ralph Willard Hidy (1905–1977), a respected professor of business history at the Harvard Business School, former editor of Business History Review, and a longtime Forest History Society director and member. From the Environmental History journal's inception in 1996 through 2001, ASEH presented the Aldo Leopold Award, named for American forest and ecologist Aldo Leopold (1887–1948). FHS and ASEH each presented separate biennial awards in alternating years. The two awards were combined as the Leopold-Hidy Award in 2001, and have since been given annually in tandem by FHS and ASEH.



Emily Brownell. "Reterritorializing the Future: Writing Environmental Histories of the Oil Crisis from Tanzania," Environmental History, Volume 26, Number 3 (Oct. 2022): 747-710. Brownell’s article challenges environmental historians to play a bigger role in narrating the events of postcolonial Africa and underscores the promise of doing so by reframing the oil crisis of the 1970s and 1980s as a political and social crisis in Tanzania that set in motion environmental transformations.


Kendra Smith-Howard. "Absorbing Waste, Displacing Labor: Family, Environment, and the Disposable Diaper in the 1970s," Environmental History, Volume 26, Number 2 (April 2021): 207-230. Her article skillfully joins arguments about labor and consumption to offer an innovative interpretation of an ostensibly familiar subject: disposable diapers.


Elizabeth Hennessy. "Saving Species: The Co-evolution of Tortoise Taxonomy and Conservation in the Galapagos Islands," Environmental History, Volume 25, Number 2 (April 2020): 263-286. Her winning article uses a case study of Galapagos tortoises to explore "the question of how we understand what species are," a question of obvious, indeed crucial, importance in an era marked by rapid and ongoing extinction.


Andrew C. Baker. "Risk, Doubt, and the Biological Control of Southern Waters." Environmental History, Volume 24, Number 2 (April 2019): 327-350. His article traces early efforts to combat the invasive aquatic plant hydrilla in the southeastern United States.


Paul Kreitman. "Attacked by Excrement: The Political Ecology of Shit in Wartime and Postwar Tokyo." Environmental History, Volume 23, Number 2 (April 2018): 242-366. His article examines the political ecology of excrement in the Greater Tokyo area and its permanent transformation from a network of commercial "night soil" collectors who emptied its latrines for use as fertilizer to a comprehensive wastewater sewer system.


Wersan, Kate. "The Early Melon and Mechanical Gardner: Toward an Environmental History of Timekeeping in the Long Eighteenth Century," Environmental History, Volume 22, Number 2 (April 2017): 282-310. Encompassing garden books from the 1680s to the 1820s, and published in England, Scotland, Ireland, and the nascent United States, this article argues that gardening calendars, encyclopedias, and almanacs both in format and content composed a running debate among professional garden authors over how best to represent time on the pages of a book.


Arch, Jakobina. “Whale Meat in Early Postwar Japan: Natural Resources and Food Culture,” Environmental History, Volume 21, Number 3 (July 2016): 467-487. Focuses on the immediate postwar period of the Allied Occupation of Japan (1945–52) when whales became entangled in state policies dealing with food shortages and democratization.


Mikhail, Alan. "Ottoman Iceland: A Climate History." Environmental History, Volume 20, Number 2 (April 2015): 262-284. Discusses the 1783 eruption of the Icelandic Laki volcanic fissure, looking at how it effected the climate and history of Ottoman Egypt.


Husain, Faisal. "In the Bellies of the Marshes: Water and Power in the Countryside of Ottoman Baghdad." Environmental History, Volume 19, Number 4 (October 2014): 638-664. Examines the environmental history of the marshes in the Euphrates region, arguing that the deterioration of Sasanian irrigation systems allowed the natural systems of the Euphrates to be restored, and that this restoration allowed for the rise of the Khaza'il people.


Milanesio, Natalia. “The Liberating Flame: Natural Gas Production in Peronist Argentina.” Environmental History, Volume 18, Number 3 (July 2013): 499-522. Examines the dramatic rise in the production and use of natural gas during Juan Domingo Perón’s government (1946-1955), revealing how “the Peronist government transformed gas into a culturally meaningful object through a web of discourses and images that evoked representations of nature conquered, national prowess, and economic liberation.”


Radding, Cynthia. “The Children of Mayahuel: Agaves, Human Cultures, and Desert Landscapes in Northern Mexico” Environmental History, Volume 17, Volume 1 (January 2012): 84-115. Examines the impact of agave plant cultivation and distribution on desert landscapes and the development of human cultures in Northern Mexico during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Combines ethnobotany, ecology and history.


White, Sam. "From Globalized Pig Breeds to Capitalist Pigs: A Study in Animal Cultures and Evolutionary History." Environmental History, Volume 16, Number 1 (January 2011): 94–120. Uses the introduction of Chinese pigs into 18th-century Europe and America and how it changed meat production as a case study to explore the history of early modern globalization and the emergence of industrial capitalism. White's article is a significant example of interdisciplinary work that one reviewer called a "classic environmental history: blending archival and scientific sources, the national and the global, our effects on nature and nature's effects on us, to help us re-see a world we thought we knew."


David Schecter and Daviken Studnicki-Gizbert. "The Environmental Dynamics of a Colonial Fuel-Rush: Silver Mining and Deforestation in New Spain, 1522 to 1810." Environmental History, Volume 15, Number 1 (January 2010): 94-119. Part of a larger project on the environmental effects of mining in Mexico, this essay explores what the authors call the "overall rhythms and sc ales of fuel wood consumption" over four centuries. The argument gracefully moves across scales, paying close attention to the local environmental transformations wrought by charcoal-making before considering changes in global economic processes. The article connects what historians have too often seen as separate enterprises—the histories of mining and forests—showing how the need for wood for smelting silver ore led to massive deforestation in the colonial period.


Yeh, Emily. "From Wasteland to Wetland?: From Nature to Nation in China's Tibet." Environmental History, Volume 14, Number 1 (January 2009): 103-137. Focuses on Lhasa's Lhalu wetlands and explores the competing ecological national narratives of the Chinese state and Tibetian exiles regarding this region. Yeh approaches the topic from the unique perspective of the conflict that has raged since the 1950s over the Lhalu wetland of western Tibet.


Langston, Nancy. "The Retreat from Precaution: Regulating Diethylstilbestrol (DES), Endocrine Disruptors, and Environmental Health." Environmental History, Volume 13, Number 1 (January 2008): 41-65. Argues that endocrine disruptors—industrial pollutants that mimic hormones—have played a key role in increasing the rates of intersexuality, reproductive cancers, and infertility. Focusing on debates in the 1930s and 1940s, Langston demonstrates how political pressures, scientific uncertainties, and evolving models of gender and health, made it all but impossible for the U.S. government to regulate these chemicals effectively. This led to a retreat from the precautionary principle that was supposed to prevail in the handling of toxic chemicals.


Carey, Mark. "The History of Ice: How Glaciers Became an Endangered Species." Environmental History, Volume 12, Number 3 (July 2007): 497-527. Using global warming as his backdrop, Carey's essay traces the emergence of a metadiscourse that tends to treat glaciers as "endangered species." The author notes that to understand why people lament the loss of ice, one must first place glaciers within their political, cultural, and historical contexts.


Judd, Richard W. "A 'Wonderfull Order and Ballance': Natural History and the Beginnings of Forest Conservation in America, 1730-1830." Environmental History, Volume 11, Number 1 (January 2006): 8-36. Traces the origins of conservationist thinking--including the formulation of concepts of balance, interrelatedness, and the practical and spiritual importance of nature--among a group of scientists who constructed a system of American natural history while exploring the transappalachian frontier between 1730 and 1830.


Mitman, Gregg. "In Search of Health: Landscape and Disease in American Environmental History." Environmental History, Volume 10, Number 2 (April 2005): 184-210. Preliminary historiographic survey of landscape and disease in twentieth-century American environmental history, in search of past places where the concept of land health shaped human-environment interactions. Finds that most scholarship dealing with health is limited to urban studies, and encourages integrating it more fully into the study of environmental history in America.


Walker, Brett L. "Meiji Modernization, Scientific Agriculture, and the Destruction of Japan's Hokkaido Wolf." Environmental History, Volume 9, Number 2 (April 2004): 248-274. Discusses the wolf eradication program implemented on the recommendation of American advisers on the island of Hokkaido in preparation for the development of a ranching industry that would help modernize Japan; late nineteenth century.


Russell, Edmund. "Evolutionary History: Prospectus for a New Field." Environmental History, Volume 8, Number 2 (April 2003): 204-228. Examines human impacts on the evolutionary process.


Soluri, John. "Accounting for Taste: Export Bananas, Mass Markets, and Panama Disease." Environmental History, Volume 7, Number 3 (July 2002): 386-410. Studies the economic and environmental reasons that fruit companies in Central America and the Caribbean delayed using disease-resistant banana varieties. From the 1880s through the 1970s.


Guha, Ramachandra. "The Prehistory of Community Forestry in India." Environmental History, Volume 6, Number 2 (April 2001): 213-238. On the transference of forest management from the British colonial government to community forestry in India during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

McCarthy, Tom. "The Coming Wonder? Foresight and Early Concerns about the Automobile." Environmental History, Volume 6, Number 1 (January 2001): 46-74. Studies environmental concerns resulting from automobile usage in the United States, during the twentieth century, the author asserting that inventors exhibited a lack of foresight in creating a vehicle that produced harmful emissions and operated on a non-renewable resource.