Dr. Thomas Lovejoy – in Memoriam
August 22, 1941 – December 25, 2021
University Professor, environmental science and policy
George Mason University
- PhD, Yale University
- BS, Yale University
Based on his work in the Brazilian Amazon, Dr. Lovejoy brought early attention to the issue of tropical deforestation in the 1970s and in 1980 published the first estimate of global extinction rates. He has long been at the vanguard of science-based environmental policy. For example, he pioneered the largest long-term experiment in landscape ecology (in Brazil’s rainforests), coined the term “biological diversity,” originated the concept of debt-for-nature swaps, and launched the public television series Nature.
The World Bank, the Smithsonian Institution, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the United Nations Foundation, and several presidents have tapped Dr. Lovejoy as an advisor, and he served as president and biodiversity chair of the prestigious but short-lived Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment. At WWF, he funded Alison Jolly’s A World Like Our Own: Man and Nature in Madagascar (1980). Among his many honors and accolades, in 2012 Dr. Lovejoy won the Asahi Glass Foundation’s Blue Planet Prize for helping to “lay the foundation for protecting the natural environment based on biodiversity, which is now a mainstream concept.”