Outstanding leaders in tropical biology and conservation, William F. Laurance, senior staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and Thomas E. Lovejoy, research associate at the Institute and Biodiversity Chair at the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment, have won the coveted 2008 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Ecology and Conservation Biology, announced on 30 Jan. 2009 in Madrid, Spain.
The pair received the award for their contributions toward understanding the consequences of habitat fragmentation and the impacts of global change on tropical forests, and for the development of fundamental political strategies to stem the tide of tropical deforestation.
"Laurance and Lovejoy, a dynamic scientific team, promote conservation research in imperiled tropical forests in the Amazon and worldwide, catalyzing the efforts of countless others to achieve conservation goals," said Cristin Samper, director of the Smithsonians National Museum of Natural History, who nominated them. "Their clear communication of research priorities and findings inspires decision-makers and the broader public to establish and conserve the large, interconnected forest reserves vital to life-supporting ecological processes at both local and global scales."
Nearly three decades ago, Lovejoy convinced the Brazilian government to support the establishment of the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project (BDFFP) in central Amazonia. Today, the project, managed by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and Brazil's National Institute of Amazon Research, INPA, continues to supply direct scientific evidence that small patches of forest do not sustain the same diversity of plants and animals as do larger patches and to elucidate the processes leading to the demise of fragmented forests.
Laurance and Lovejoy also work tirelessly to promote training of Amazonian students and conservation prof
|Contact: Beth King|
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute