Thomas Lovejoy

Biodiversity Chair, Heinz Center

Thomas  Lovejoy

THOMAS LOVEJOY is an innovative and accomplished conservation biologist who in 1980 coined the term “biological diversity.” In 2010 he was elected professor in the department of environmental science and policy at George Mason University. He is senior fellow at the United Nations Foundation in Washington, DC. He served as president of the Heinz Center from 2002 to 2008 and held the Biodiversity Chair until the center closed at the end of 2013. Before assuming this position, Lovejoy was the World Bank’s chief biodiversity advisor and lead specialist for environment for Latin America and the Caribbean. Spanning the political spectrum, Lovejoy has served on science and environmental councils under the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations. 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 rain forests, and in particular to the Brazilian Amazon, where he has worked since 1965. Lovejoy also developed the now ubiquitous “debt-for-nature” swap programs and led the Minimum Critical Size of Ecosystems project. He founded the series Nature, a popular, long-running program on public television. In 2001, Lovejoy was awarded the prestigious Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. In 2009, he was the winner of a BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the ecology and conservation biology category. That same year, he was appointed Conservation Fellow by National Geographic. In 2012 he received the Blue Planet Prize. Lovejoy holds BS and PhD (biology) degrees from Yale University.