Blog Post

In Memoriam: Thomas Lovejoy

Thomas Lovejoy was a renowned tropical and conservation biologist and the CCA is profoundly saddened to learn of his passing. Dr. Lovejoy was Chair of CCA’s Expert Panel on Biodiversity Science, which produced the report, Canadian Taxonomy: Exploring Biodiversity, Creating Opportunity (2010). At the time he served on CCA’s panel, Dr. Lovejoy was the Biodiversity Chair at the Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment. He served as President of the Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment from 2002 and 2008, and in August 2008 moved to the newly created Heinz Center Biodiversity Chair.

From 1973 to 1987 he directed the U.S. World Wildlife Fund, and from 1987 to 1998 he served as Assistant Secretary for Environmental and External Affairs for the Smithsonian Institution. He was the World Bank’s Chief Biodiversity Advisor and Lead Specialist for Environment for Latin America and the Caribbean, and Senior Advisor to the President of the United Nations Foundation.

Dr. Lovejoy conceived the idea for the Minimum Critical Size of Ecosystems project, originated the concept of debt-for-nature swaps, and founded the public television series Nature. He is well-known for popularizing the term “biological diversity,” and analyzing the interaction between climate change and biodiversity. In 2001 he was awarded the prestigious Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement and in 2008, the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award.

Dr. Lovejoy’s passing is a tremendous loss to many. Our deepest sympathies go out to his family, friends, and colleagues

Honoring the Legacy of E. O. Wilson and Tom Lovejoy, The New Yorker