Kamaljit S. Bawa, Ph.D.

Distinguished Professor
University of Massachusetts
100 Morrissey Blvd.
City, State, Zip
Boston, Massachusetts 2125
Award Year


Project Details

Kamal's Pew award supported three activities: planning for an undergraduate Environmental Studies program; conservation of tropical forest trees and deforestation and land use change in India.

The Environmental Studies program Bawa assisted in developing was initiated at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, in 1996 with the hiring of a director for the program.

His work on the conservation of forest trees included developing a new class of DNA markers (microsatellites) in tropical trees. These markers are now proving very useful in studies of the effects of deforestation and forest fragmentation on genetic diversity of tropical forests.

The third project, based in India, sought to assess the magnitude, rates, patterns, and causes of deforestation, to examine the effectiveness of the protected area network in conserving biodiversity and to assess anthropogenic pressures on biodiversity inside and outside protected areas.

As an outcome of these efforts, in 1996 Bawa founded and established a non government organization, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE) in Bangalore, India. ATREE combines the principles of ecology and economics to undertake and promote scientific, educational and development activities that advance protection of the environment, biodiversity conservation, sustainable use of resources and poverty alleviation. The current areas of concentration are: (1) conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity, particularly the impact of land use change and deforestation on ecosystem services, including water and climate, and agricultural productivity; (2) social and economic drivers of land use change; mapping of biodiversity; (3) enterprise-based approaches to conservation; (4) management of forest genetic resources and (5) policy and action related to conservation and use of forests.

ATREE also provides a platform for innovative new work and particularly encourages the professional growth of young Indian men and women concerned with the environment. In addition, ATREE seeks to the capacity of Indian government and non-government entities. This dynamic organization is already making a significant impact on conservation and management of biological resources in two global hotspots of biodiversity: the Western Ghats and the Eastern Himalayas.


Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE)


Kamaljit Bawa was born and raised in India. His first research on biodiversity was part of an effort at Panjab University to study patterns of chromosomal and morphological variation in tropical and sub-tropical tree species. He came to the United States in 1967, and in 1969 resumed his research on the genetic basis of species richness in tropical forests of Central America. After working for many years in Costa Rica, Bawa returned to research on forests in India in 1990.

His current focus is the magnitude, causes and consequences of deforestation in the tropics. He examines economic, cultural and social forces that accelerate deforestation and other forms of environmental degradation. Bawa is also interested in institutional constraints and responses to solutions pertaining to deforestation and loss of biodiversity and he and his colleagues are testing various models of sustainable use of forest resources,



Ph.D., Panjab University
1967: Botany, India

Master of Science, Panjab University
1962: Botany, India

Bachelor of Science, Panjab University
1960: Botany, India


University of Massachusetts
1996-Present: Distinguished Professor of Biology, Boston, USA

University of Massachusetts
1981-1996: Professor, Department of Biology, Boston

University of Massachusetts
1989-1992: Chairman, Biology Department, Boston, USA


Foundation for Rehabilitation of Local Health Traditions, Bangalore, India, Member
1998-Present: Advisory Council

Foundation for Rehabilitation of Local Health Traditions, Bangalore, India, Member
1998-Present: Executive Board

WWF Program on Socio-Economic Root Causes of Biodiversity Loss, Member
1997-Present: Program Advisory Committee

Economic Botany
1997-Present: Associate Editor

Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment, India
1996-Present: Founder and Trustee

Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment, Massachusetts
1996-Present: Founder and Trustee

Journal of Sustainable Forestry
1992-Present: Editorial Board

International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Rome, Italy, Leader
1998: Review Team on Forest Genetic Resources

Plant Systematics and Evolution
1993-1998: Editorial Advisory Board

National Science Foundation, Member
1993-1994: Advisory Panel on Population Biology

Evolutionary Trends in Plants
1987-1992: Editorial Board

Journal of Tree Sciences
1986-1991: Editorial Board

National Science Foundation, Member
1991: Advisory Panel on Conservation and Restoration Biology

National Research Council, Member
Forest Genetic Resources Work Group


Appointed Distinguished Professor
1996: University of Massachusetts, Boston

1991: Pew Fellows Program in Conservation and the Environment

Guggenheim Fellowship

Dean's Outstanding Achievement Award
1984: University of Massachusetts, Boston

Chancellor's Award for Distinction in Scholarship
1981: University of Massachusetts, Boston


Association for Tropical Biology
1999: President Elect

Ecological Society of America

Society for the Study of Evolution

Society of American Naturalists

Society for Conservation Biology

Society of Economic Botanists


  • Bawa, K.S., Raven, P.H., and Seidler, R. 2004. Reconciling conservation paradigms. Conservation Biology 18(4): p.p. 859-860.
  • Bawa, K.S., S. Lele, K. S. Murali, and B. Ganesan. 1998. Extraction of non-timber forest products of Biligiri Rangan Hills, India: Monitoring of a community based project., Washington, D.C.. Measuring Conservation Impact: Proceedings from a Symposium at the 1996 Joint Meeting of the Society for Conservation Biology and the Ecological Society of America, Providence, Rhode Island
  • Bawa, Kamaljit.S. Impact of Global Changes on the Reproductive Biology of Trees in Tropical Dry Forests. In: Biodiversity Conservation in Costa Rica: Learning the Lessons in a Seasonal Dry Forest. P.p. 38-47.
  • Bawa, K.S., Kang,Hyesoon, Grayum, Michael H. 2003 Relationships among Time, Frequency, and Duration of Flowering in Tropical Rain Forest Trees. In: American Journal of Botany 90(6):877-887
  • Kang, Hyesoon, Bawa, Kamaljit.S 2003 Effects of Successional Status, Habit, Sexual Systems, and Pollinators on Flowering Patterns in Tropical Rain Forest Trees. In: American Journal of Botany 90(6): 865-876
  • Bawa, K., J. Rose, K. N. Ganeshaiah, N. Barve, M. C. Kiran, and R. Umashaanker. 2002. Assessing biodiversity from space: an example from the Western Ghats, India. Conservation Ecology 6(2): 7. [online] URL: http://www.consecol.org/vol6/iss2/art7
  • Seidler, R. and Bawa, K.S. 2002. Uncertainty and biodiversity conservation. In: Precaution, Environmental Science, and Preventive Public Policy. Ed. Tickner, J. Island Press. Pp. 175-192
  • Sinha, A., and Bawa, K.S. 2002. Harvesting techniques, hemiparasites and fruit production in two nontimber forest tree species in south India. Forest Ecology and Management 168: 289-300.
  • Bawa, K. S. and R. Seidler. 1998. Natural forest management and conservation of biodiversity in tropical forests. Conservation Biology 12:46-55
  • Bawa, K.S. 1998. Conservation of genetic resources in the Dipterocarpaceae.
  • Bawa, K. S. and S. Dayanandan. 1997. Socioeconomic factors and tropical deforestation. Nature 386:562-563
  • Bawa, K.S. and S. Dayanandan. 1997. Climate change and tropical forest genetic resources. Climate Change 23:449-466
  • Bawa, K.S., and M. Gadgil. 1997. Ecosystem services in subsistence economies and conservation of biodiversity. In: Nature's Services: Societal Dependence on Natural Ecosystems (G. Daily ed.). Island Press, Washington, D.C., p. 295-310
  • Lele, S., K. S. Murali, and K. S. Bawa. 1997. Biodiversity conservation through community enterprise: An experiment in the BRT Sanctuary of Karnataka, India.. IIPA, New Delhi, p. 35462. Proceedings of the UNESCO Regional Wokshop on Community -Based Conservation: Policy and Practice
  • Chase, M.R., C.Moller, R.Kesseli, and K. Bawa. 1996. Distant gene flow in tropical trees. Nature 383:398-399
  • Wendland, A. and K.S. Bawa. 1996. Tropical forestry: The Costa Rican experience in management of forest resources. Journal of Sustainable Forestry 3:91-156
  • Bawa, K.S. 1993. Effects of deforestation and forest fragmentation on genetic diversity in tropical tree populations. In: Genetic Conservation and Production of Tropical Forest Seed. ASEAN-Canada Forest Tree Seed Centre, Chiang Mai, Thailand