The Linnean Medal is awarded every year by the Linnean Society of London to biologists as an expression of the Society’s esteem and appreciation of the awardees’ service to science.
Bawa has been awarded the Medal for his pioneering research on the evolution of tropical plants, biodiversity in forests, and conservation biology. He is the founder and president of the Bengaluru-based NGO, ATREE (Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment), which generates interdisciplinary knowledge for use in formulating policies and practices for conservation and sustainable development. Bawa, a Distinguished Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, has also been commended for his efforts in establishing the ‘India Diversity portal’, which is an online citizen-science repository, and the open-access journal Conservation and Society, that publishes peer-reviewed interdisciplinary research on linkages between society, environment, and conservation.
Bawa’s work is primarily focused on the overarching theme of global changes that impact biodiversity, though he still finds time to pursue his primary interest in the field of plant population biology. His research interests include gathering information on the impact of land use, climate change, agriculture, and the use of natural resources on biodiversity to help develop new and effective conservation paradigms in biodiversity hotspots such as the Western Ghats, Eastern Himalayas, and the forests of Central America.