Prominent conservation biologist credited with popularizing the term “biological diversity” has passed away
FAIRFAX, Va .– Thomas E. Lovejoy, a prominent conservation biologist credited with popularizing the term “biological diversity”, has passed away. He was 80 years old.
His death on Saturday was announced by George Mason University, where he was director of the Institute for a Sustainable Earth, and the Amazon Biodiversity Center, which he founded.
Lovejoy began to refer to biological diversity – the rich variety of life on Earth – in the late 1970s. Later abbreviated as biodiversity, it became one of the most important themes of the Age of Change. climate.
A leading extinction researcher, Lovejoy has found that habitat destruction, pollution and global warming are extinguishing species around the world. He called for forest restoration to encourage regrowth of native plants and animals and for the protection of vast bodies of water and land.
Lovejoy also helped found US public television’s “Nature,” the venerable show featuring stunning videos of ecosystems from around the world. When the show premiered in 1982, he was working for the World Wildlife Fund.
Lovejoy’s research brought him to the Amazon in the 1960s and he became a passionate advocate for tropical rainforests. He helped run a project in Brazil to protect and restore threatened forest fragments.
Lovejoy was awarded a grant by the National Geographic Society in 1971 to study rainforest birds in the Amazon, and he played various roles in society for the next five decades.
“To know Tom was to know an amazing scientist, professor, advisor and unyielding champion of our planet,” Jill Tiefenthaler, CEO of National Geographic wrote in a blog post.
He has also worked at the Smithsonian Institution, the World Bank, and as a science and environmental advisor under several different presidents.