Dr Tom Lovejoy
Senior Fellow at the United Nations Foundation and University Professor in the Environmental Science and Policy department at George Mason University
Dr Thomas E. Lovejoy was elected University Professor at George Mason in March 2010. He also holds the Biodiversity Chair at the Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment and was President from 2002 to 2008.
An ecologist who has worked in the Brazilian Amazon since 1965, he works on the interface of science and environmental policy. Starting in the 1970s, he helped bring attention to the issue of tropical deforestation and in 1980 published the first estimate of global extinction rates (in the Global 2000 Report to the President). He conceived the idea for the long-term study on forest fragmentation in the Amazon (started in 1978) - the Minimum Critical Size of Ecosystems project (also known as the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project) - which is the largest experiment in landscape ecology. Dr Lovejoy also coined the term ‘Biological diversity’, originated the concept of debt-for-nature swaps, and has worked on the interaction between climate change and biodiversity for more than 20 years. He is the founder of the public television series ‘Nature’.
In the past, Dr Lovejoy served as the Senior Advisor to the President of the United Nations Foundation, as the Chief Biodiversity Advisor and Lead Specialist for the Environment for the World Bank in the Latin American region, as the Assistant Secretary for Environmental and External Affairs for the Smithsonian Institution, and as Executive Vice President of World Wildlife Fund-US. In 2002, he was awarded The Tyler Prize, and in 2009 he was the winner of the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Ecology and Conservation Biology Category. Dr Lovejoy has served on advisory councils in the Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations. In 2009 he was appointed Conservation Fellow by the National Geographic Society. He chairs the Scientific and Technical Panel for the Global Environment Facility which provides funding related to the international environmental conventions. He received his Bachelor of Science degree and Ph.D. (Biology) from Yale University.