Thomas E. Lovejoy


Tom is an innovative and accomplished conservation biologist who coined the term “biological diversity”. He serves as Senior Fellow at the UN Foundation. In 2010, he was elected University Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University. He served as President and Biodiversity Chair of the Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment between 2002-2013. Before assuming this position, Tom 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. Spanning the political spectrum, Tom has served on science and environmental councils under the Reagan, Bush and Clinton administrations. At the core of these many influential positions are Tom’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. Tom also developed the now ubiquitous “debt-for-nature” swap programs and led the Minimum Critical Size of Ecosystems project. In 2009, he was appointed Conservation Fellow by the National Geographic and in 2012 was recognized by the Blue Planet Prize.