A prominent Indian biologist and evolutionary ecologist has been elected to the prestigious Royal Society in recognition of his contribution to the cause of conservation.
Kamal Bawa, 76, a distinguished biology professor at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, joins greats such as Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking and about 80 Nobel Prize winners at the prestigious British institution.
Established in 1660, each year the London-based Royal Society’s existing fellowship proposes about 700 candidates for election and then elects up to 52 fellows from England and the Commonwealth countries.
For countries outside the Commonwealth, the numbers are fewer, with up to 10 foreign fellows appointed.
Bawa, who joined the University of Massachusetts 36 years ago, said: “I am interested in developing new paradigms of conversation that take into account the need to alleviate poverty in biodiversity-rich areas through sustainable use of biodiversity.”
The Royal Society said Bawa’s pioneering contributions to understanding the population biology of tropical forest trees led to new strategies for their conservation and also for the sustainable use of non-timber forest products.
“He has provided leadership in conservation science in India by establishing ATREE (Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment in Bangalore), an influential NGO that generates interdisciplinary knowledge, guides policy making, disseminates information and builds human capacity in biodiversity science,” the Royal Society said.
“Through his work and popular writing, Kamal Bawa has promoted international cooperation in science, while also strengthening biodiversity awareness and public support for conservation in Indian civil society,” it added.