During his time at the World Wildlife Fund, he wrote a section of a report commissioned by President Jimmy Carter — “Global 2000: Entering the 21st Century,” released in 1980 — in which he projected that 20 percent of all species on earth would be extinct by 2020.
“Hundreds of thousands of species,” he wrote, “will be irretrievably lost as their habitats vanish, especially in tropical forests.” Looking back 32 years later in the Blue Planet interview, he said, “My projection was not far from the mark.”
He later wrote two papers using a new term: “biological diversity.”
In 1984, he proposed the debt-for-nature swaps as a mechanism to keep developing countries from having to slash their conservation budgets to pay off debt. Such swaps, he wrote in an opinion column for The Times, “would be far more than a disinterested handout to mendicants: Left untouched, the environmental problems of the third world inevitably will touch our lives by generating social and political unrest.”
In addition to his field research and executive positions, Dr. Lovejoy served on scientific advisory councils in the administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. In 2010, he became a professor in George Mason University’s department of environmental science and policy, teaching a course in the challenge of biodiversity.
In addition to his daughter Elizabeth, known as Betsy, he is survived by two other daughters, Katherine Petty and Anne Jenkins, and six grandchildren. His marriage to Charlotte Seymour ended in divorce.
Camp 41 was not the only site that Dr. Lovejoy used to bring disparate people together; he also hosted them at his home in McLean, a log cabin called Drover’s Rest, for dinners and fine wine.
“There was always an element of a higher purpose” at such gatherings, said Jane Lubchenco, a marine ecologist who is deputy director for climate and environment in the White House’s office of science and technology policy. “He brought people together to build connections in a way that might lead to more conservation action.”