Dr Kamaljit Bawa, president of the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, has been awarded the Linnean Medal in botany, according to a press statement issued by the Bengaluru-based organisation.

Bawa is the first Indian to receive the medal since the Linnean Society of London instituted it in 1888. The medal is awarded “to a biologist for service to science.” The Linnean Society of London is dedicated to the study and dissemination of information of natural history and evolution.

“The Linnean Medal is a good recognition of our work on conservation and sustainability,” said Bawa, adding that it 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.” Bawa is also a Distinguished Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, United States.

Bawa was recognised for his 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 Himalayas. His efforts to establish an environmental centre, ATREE, the journal Conservation and Society and the India Biodiversity Portal were also recognised.