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For the first time, Indian Botanist awarded the Linnean Medal

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28 May 2018

Dr Kamaljit Bawa, President, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) and Distinguished Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, has been awarded the Linnean Medal in Botany by the Linnean Society of London at its annual meeting.

The Society has been awarding the Linnean Medal every year since 1888. Dr Kamaljit Bawa is the first Indian to receive the medal in its 140-year old history. The recognition, according to society’s website is awarded as “as an expression of the Society's esteem and appreciation for service to science”.

Dr Bawa was recognised for his pioneering research on the evolution of tropical plants, tropical deforestation, non-timber forest products, and for decades of work on the biodiversity of forests in Central America, the Western Ghats and the Eastern Himalaya. Also cited were Dr Bawa’s efforts to establish a world-class environmental centre, ATREE, in Bengaluru, the journal Conservation and Society and the India Biodiversity Portal.

“The Linnean Medal is a good recognition of our work on conservation and sustainability, and will serve as a fresh reminder that we need to redouble our efforts to fully document and study our planet’s incredible plant wealth that is rapidly declining,” said Dr Bawa in a press release.

Incidentally, the first scientist to receive the Linnean Medal, in 1888, was Sir Joseph D. Hooker, who compiled the monumental seven-volume Flora of British India—the first comprehensive account of India’s plants.

The Linnean Society, named after the famous Swedish biologist Carl Linnaeus, who gave us a system of naming plants and animals, was established in 1788 and is among the oldest academic societies of the world.

(Based on a press release from ATREE).