Thomas E. Lovejoy, Senior Fellow at the United Nations Foundation and the “Godfather of Biodiversity,” delivers a thoroughly interesting overview of his environmental conservation work and scientific research.
Lovejoy discusses his interest in biodiversity and environmental science. As he explains, he had an early interest in animals, and after taking his first biology course he was hooked. Lovejoy talks about his work in graduate school, and how he was then motivated to travel and understand what was happening globally, which led him to lead conservation efforts and push to make life better on the planet.
Lovejoy discusses in detail his early work with the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) and his experiences in the Amazon in Brazil. He talks about the dangers of breaking a forest into fragments. As he explains, when you break a forest into fragments, and a fragment is no longer part of a larger system, it will no longer be able to support all the species that reside within it. Thus these fragments become simpler ecosystems, having shed some of their species.
The environmental science expert explains the dynamic changes that we are seeing today globally, discussing drought and deforestation. He explains that the most important thing to do to improve the dire situation is to back off from the tipping point by actively pursuing reforestation practices, and building connections between forest fragments. Continuing, Lovejoy explains details of the biology of a forest, discussing treefall gaps, which are obvious holes in a forest with vertical sides. He explains how seeds are distributed and how certain small animal species aid in the process.
Wrapping up, he talks about the “tipping point,” the point at which the loss of global biodiversity greatly increases, and he discusses the negative impacts of carbon in the atmosphere that will directly affect climate change.