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Cardoso AOS Award

Devoted to Biodiversity Conservation

Professor José Cardoso da Silva has received the 2019 American Ornithological Society (AOS) Ralph W. Schreiber Conservation Award for conservation. 
By Barry Wiliams

Professor José Cardoso da Silva has received the 2019 American Ornithological Society (AOS) Ralph W. Schreiber Conservation Award for conservation. 

Devoted to Biodiversity Conservation

By Barry Wiliams
University of Miami Professor awarded prestigious conservation award

“This conservation award is the most important award for ornithologists like me who studies ways to conserve nature,” says Professor José Cardoso da Silva, who received the 2019 American Ornithological Society (AOS) Ralph W. Schreiber Conservation Award recognizing important contributions in the areas of conservation, restoration, and preservation of bird ecosystems around the globe.

A native of Belém in the Brazilian Amazon, Cardoso da Silva’s work in the area of conservation spans three decades studying hundreds of bird species throughout Brazil and other areas of Latin America.

“I have spent many years in the field studying birds. By doing that I interacted with many groups of people and learned how they interact with nature. Now, I use this experience to find ways by which people and nature can thrive together in different parts of the world,” says Cardoso da Silva, who has been at UM for almost four years and teaches in the Department of Geography and Regional Studies.

Cardoso da Silva says he is proud to be among an esteemed group of ornithologists who have also received this award such as Thomas Lovejoy, who is deemed the “Godfather of Biodiversity,” and John Fitzpatrick, who is noted for his research on the Florida scrub jay, a species of bird mainly found in Florida.  

On the heels of the recently published book Caatinga-The Largest Tropical Dry Forest Region in South America, which he edited along with Inara R. Leal and Marcelo Tabarelli, Cardoso da Silva focuses his research on the relationships between biodiversity conservation and development.  

“Development without biodiversity conservation is not development, therefore improving people’s lives everywhere in the world requires protecting and restoring large areas of critical terrestrial and marine ecosystems,” says Cardoso da Silva.

He has been very instrumental in designing science-based strategies to protect ecosystems in Brazil’s Cerrado, Caatinga, Atlantic Forest and Amazon—four of the world’s most species-rich regions. Then, he moved from science to action and worked together with governments to set aside more than 20,000,000 acres of parks and reserves that are home of thousands of species of organisms, including many threatened bird species.

Cardoso da Silva has published more than 130 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters in three languages as well as co-editing nine books. His papers cover a range of subjects, from avian systematics to sustainable development, and have been published in several prestigious ornithological and multidisciplinary journals.

Established in 2005, the Ralph W. Schreiber Conservation Award honors Ralph Schreiber, a prominent figure in the American Ornithologists' Union known for his enthusiasm, energy, and dedication to research and conservation. Cardoso da Silva formally receives the award in June at the annual meeting of the AOS in Anchorage, Alaska.