Portuguese researcher awarded for contribution to nature conservation – Lisboa Green Capital 2020

Portuguese researcher awarded for contribution to nature conservation

Once again, Portugal shines abroad as it brings home the award of the last edition of the European Early Career Conservation Award. The honour went to Ricardo Rocha with his contribution to nature conservation.

Ricardo Rocha, researcher at the Center for Biodiversity and Genetic Resources Research (CIBIO-InBIO) of University of Porto, was distinguished by the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) with the European Early Career Conservation Award. This award aims to recognise his contribution to nature conservation as well as its active role in a more diverse scientific community.

The young scientist has a career mainly dedicated to tropical ecology, having participated in several important scientific works on the effect of the fragmentation of the Amazon forest on bat populations and agricultural expansion in the bird and bat communities of the island of Madagascar. Regarding Madagascar, Ricardo Rocha also collaborated in the analysis of the effectiveness of the country’s protected areas in combating deforestation.

“In a paper published in 2016, we showed that despite continued illegal logging in several national parks, the protected areas in Madagascar are generally effective in reducing deforestation within their borders,” the scientist said.

The researcher’s concern for the promotion of diversity in science and conservation is such that he has become a member of the Committee for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion of the Society for Conservation Biology. He also helped implement a network of racial and ethnic minority researchers at Cambridge University.

“Having won this award is undoubtedly an added value for my professional future, but it’s also a reflection that science and nature conservation in Portugal and Europe can be more diverse,” says Ricardo Rocha.

European Early Career Conservation Award

Awarded biannually since 2016 by the European fraction of SCB, this award is intended to highlight the work of young researchers with very significant contributions to the conservation of the natural heritage. These contributions can be made through research, field intervention or even political and educational action. At the same time, it aims to inspire a new generation of researchers dedicated to safeguarding biodiversity and minimising the impacts of global change.

Ricardo Rocha

With a PhD in Conservation Biology from the Universities of Lisbon and Helsinki since 2017, Ricardo Rocha has also been awarded the Doctoral Prize in Ecology from the Amadeu Dias Foundation, awarded by the Portuguese Ecological Society, for his work in the Amazon forest.

Between 2017 and 2019 he was a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge, and here he worked on a project that aimed to synthesize information on best practices in nature conservation worldwide.

He is currently doing his second post-doctoral fellowship, at the University of Porto and, since September, he has been in the Madeira Archipelago studying the ecology of bats and their role in the control of insects harmful to agriculture.