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Thomas Lovejoy

Biodiversity Chair, Heinz Center

Thomas  Lovejoy
Media inquiries: (202) 495-4102 or communications@wwfus.org

Thomas Lovejoy is an innovative and accomplished conservation biologist who coined the term “biological diversity”. He currently holds the Biodiversity Chair at the Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment based in Washington, DC.

He served as President of the Heinz Center from 2002-2008. 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.

In 2010 he was elected Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University (initially he will devote 50% of his time to the Heinz Center). 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 rainforests, and in particular, 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 also founded the series Nature, the 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. In 2009 he was appointed Conservation Fellow by the National Geographic.

Lovejoy holds B.S. and Ph.D (biology) degrees from Yale University.

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