William Laurance, received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1989. He then held research positions with the CSIRO Tropical Forest Research Centre and Wet Tropics Management Authority in north Queensland. He joined the Smithsonian Institution as a senior scientist and was based in Brazil and Panama for 14 years.
Laurance joined James Cook University in 2009 and has a world class research group. He also holds the Prince Bernhard Chair in International Nature Conservation at the University of Utrecht, Netherlands. He is also a research associate at Harvard University and the Smithsonian. Professor Laurance’s research focuses on the impacts of intensive land-uses, such as habitat fragmentation, logging, and wildfires, on tropical forests and species, as well as climate change and conservation policy. His research spans the tropical world, and he has spent over a quarter century working in the Amazon, Africa, Southeast Asia, and tropical Australia.
A leading voice for conservation, Prof. Laurance believes that scientists must actively engage policy makers and the general public, as well as other scientists. To date he has published five books and over 300 scientific and popular articles. He is a fellow of the American Association of the Advancement of Science and former president of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, the world’s largest scientific organization devoted to the study and preservation of tropical ecosystems. He has received many scientific honors including the prestigious BBVA Frontiers in Ecology and Conservation Biology Award.