Thomas Lovejoy

Biodiversity Chair
Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and Environment

Professor
Department of Environmental Science and Policy
George Mason University, Virginia

Contact: tlovejoy@unfoundation.org

Thomas Lovejoy is an innovative and accomplished conservation biologist who coined the term “biological diversity”. In 2010 he was elected University Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University. He served as President of the Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment from 2002-2008 and was the Biodiversity Chair of the Center from 2008-2012. Before assuming this position, Lovejoy was the World Bank’s Chief Biodiversity Advisor and Lead Specialist for Environment for Latin America and the Caribbean as well as Senior Advisor to the President of the United Nations Foundation .From 1987-1999 he held senior positions at the Smithsonian Institution, Spanning the political spectrum, Lovejoy has served on science and environmental councils under the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations and was Science Envoy for the Department of State from 2016-2918. At the core of these many influential positions are Lovejoy’s seminal ideas, which have formed and strengthened the field of conservation biology. In the 1980s, he brought international attention to the world’s tropical rainforests, and in particular, the Brazilian Amazon, where he has worked since 1965. In 1980 he produced the first projection of global extinctions for the Global 2000 Report to the President. Lovejoy also developed the now ubiquitous “debt-for-nature” swap programs and led the Minimum Critical Size of Ecosystems project. With two co-edited books (1992 and 2005), he is credited with founding the field of climate change biology. Together with Lee Hannah his third book on the topic, Biodiversity and Climate Change: Transforming the Biosphere and Climate Change was published January 2019. He also founded the series Nature, the most popular long-term series on public television. In 2001, Lovejoy was awarded the prestigious Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. In 2009 he was the winner of BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Ecology and Conservation Biology Category and the Blue Planet Prize in 2012. In 2009 he was appointed Conservation Fellow by the National Geographic and Explorer at Large in 2019. Lovejoy holds B.S. and Ph.D (biology) degrees from Yale University. Like Dr. Goulden he studied with G.E. Hutchinson.

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