Compensating for his childhood pursuit of hunting, conservation-biologist Laury Cullen Jr, born in 1966, has for nearly 20 years been concerned with protecting the threatened fauna and flora of his native Brazil.
Community-based programmes involving farmers, landowners and local government are central to Cullen’s project dedicated to linking fragments of the country’s Atlantic Forest in a biodiversity network. The project won him a Rolex Award in 2004.
As a result of the Award and the additional funding it attracted, Cullen and his colleagues at IPÊ (Institute for Ecological Research), of which he is research and project coordinator, have empowered local people to improve their living conditions and step up tree-planting, resulting in 1.8 million new trees since the project began in the early 1990s.
The project is currently undergoing expansion. More and more forest fragments are being linked with new forested wildlife corridors, and more than 400 families are now involved in the cultivation of degraded farmland.
Published in 2009