William Laurance is a Distinguished Research Professor at James Cook University in Cairns, Australia, and holds an Australian Laureate Fellowship, one of Australia’s highest scientific awards. He also holds the Prince Bernhard Chair in International Nature Conservation at Utrecht University, Netherlands.
Laurance received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1989. His research focuses on the impacts of intensive land-uses, such as habitat fragmentation, logging, hunting and wildfires, on tropical forests and their biodiversity. He is also interested in protected areas, climatic change, the impacts of roads and other infrastructure on biodiversity, and conservation policy. His research over the past 35 years spans the tropical world, including the Amazon, Africa and Asia-Pacific regions. To date he has published eight books and over 400 scientific and popular articles.
A leading voice for conservation, Laurance believes that scientists must actively engage policy makers and the general public, as well as other scientists. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and former president of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation.
Laurance has received many scientific honors including the BBVA Frontiers in Ecology and Conservation Biology Award, a Distinguished Service Award from the Society for Conservation Biology, and the Heineken Environment Prize. He is also founder and director of ALERT—the Alliance of Leading Environmental Researchers & Thinkers, a group that advocates for environmental sustainability.