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Fellows Directory

Ghillean Prance

Ghillean Prance

Sir Ghillean Prance FRS


Elected: 1993


Ghillean Prance is a botanist and former Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew. Ghillean has travelled and conducted research extensively in South America. His life’s work has focused on ensuring global sustainability and management of the environment through increasing our knowledge and understanding of the plant kingdom.

He is especially interested in ethnobotany — the relationship between plants and man. He has carried out extensive fieldwork, principally in the Amazon rainforest, where he lived with many Amazonian tribes and identified over 350 new species of plant. He realised that further destruction of the rainforest could be prevented by learning about sustainable management of the rainforest from the tribes that live there.

Ghillean is the author of many books and academic papers and has been honoured by both the President of Brazil and the Emperor of Japan. He received a knighthood in 1995. Since his retirement, he has pursued an active role at the Eden Project — a complex of glass domes filled with plants that emulate natural biomes — where he is currently a Trustee.

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Organismal biology, evolution and ecology
    • Plant sciences / botany
  • Other
    • Science education at secondary level


systematics, taxonomy, Ethnobotany, Conservation science, Forest ecology


  • International Cosmos Prize

    No citation available for this award.

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