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Madhav Gadgil wins Tyler Prize

Dr. Gadgil’s report on preservation of Western Ghats was specially cited as the reason for the prestigious environment prize.— File Photo: V Sreenivasa Murthy

Dr. Gadgil’s report on preservation of Western Ghats was specially cited as the reason for the prestigious environment prize.— File Photo: V Sreenivasa Murthy  

At a time when the Union government has junked his crucial report on the conservation of the Western Ghats, ecologist Madhav Gadgil has been chosen for the prestigious Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement for 2015.

The prize, instituted in 1973, is awarded by the Tyler Prize Executive Committee with the administrative support of the University of Southern California.

Dr. Gadgil, who was chairman of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP), will share the $200,000 cash prize with American marine ecologist Jane Lubchenco for their work in changing policy and especially for their “leadership and engagement in the development of conservation and sustainability policies in the United States, India and internationally,” said a release issued by Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement Executive Committee on Monday.

The winners will receive the prize and a gold medallion at a private ceremony in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, on April 24. They will deliver public lectures on their work at The Forum in the University the day before the award ceremony.

“Both …laureates have bridged science with cultural and economic realities — like the impact on indigenous peoples in India or fishing communities in the United States — to advance the best possible conservation policies,” the release said.

Dr. Gadgil’s report on the preservation of the unique ecosystem of the Western Ghats was specially cited as the reason for the honour, besides his contributions to the crafting of the National Biodiversity Act, 2002.

Dr. Lubchenco, recently named the first-ever U.S. Science Envoy for the Ocean by the Department of State, gets the award for her dedication to spreading the importance of the ocean and ocean ecosystems, notably during her tenure, from 2009 to 2013, as Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The award commended her drive and passion in restoring fisheries and improving ocean health which led to her advocacy for the unique “catch share” model – an alternative rights-based approach to fisheries attempting to change the economic incentives for fishermen that has been adopted by a number of regional fishery management councils in Alaska, along the Pacific Coast, the Gulf of Mexico and other regions across the American seaboard.

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