Chico Mendes Prize

The Chico Mendes Prize is awarded biennially to the best Practice Insights article by an early career practitioner in Ecological Solutions and Evidence.

About Chico Mendes

Chico Mendes was a Brazilian rubber tapper and environmental activist whose continued fight and defence for the Amazon rainforest, local labourers and indigenous peoples changed the course of conservation across Brazil.

Born into a generation of seringueiros (rubber tappers), Mendes grew up in the Amazon and became the voice of seringueiros throughout Brazil with his trade union activism and support for local communities. With increasing deforestation and expulsion of forest inhabitants, Mendes emphasized the need to establish reserves protected from destruction, and from which natural resources can be sustainability extracted to benefit local labourers and indigenous communities.

His work was internationally recognized with the UNEP Global 500 Roll of Honour in 1987, and after his sudden assassination just a year later, the Brazilian government posthumously established ‘Extractive reserves’ – a protected area from which its inhabitants have the right to practice traditional extractive practices, such as hunting and harvesting.

Ecological Solutions and Evidence launched the Chico Mendes Prize in 2021 during Chico Mendes Week (15-22 December) – which runs every year from his birthday to the day he was assassinated – in honour of his work and the work of on-the-ground practitioners around the world.

I am honoured with this tribute recognising the struggle and trajectory of my father, a simple rubber tapper, whose dream and determination changed the history of the Brazilian environment

– Angela Mendes, daughter and Coordinator of the Chico Mendes Committee

This biography is also available in Portuguese.

The Prize

The Chico Mendes Prize is awarded every two years to the best Practice Insights article published in the journal by an ecological practitioner at the start of their career.

In the absence of extenuating circumstances, ‘Early Career’ is defined as less than 5 years post- Ph.D. or -D.Phil. according to the date of the author’s graduation certificate, or less than 5 years’ work experience in environmental management according to the start date of first employment role. The winner of the Chico Mendes Prize will receive £250, membership of the British Ecological Society, and have the registration fees covered to attend the BES Annual Meeting if they wish to give a presentation on their work.

Ecological Solutions and Evidence also awards the Georgina Mace Prize for the best Research article by an early career researcher, which is announced annually.