Research professor, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia, Manaus, Brazil
Philip Fearnside, an ecologist at Brazil’s National Institute for Research in Amazonia, has lived and worked in the Brazilian Amazon for over 40 years and is one of the foremost authorities on global warming and deforestation in the world’s largest tropical forest. After completing a biology degree at Colorado College, Fearnside went to India as a Peace Corps volunteer working on fisheries in reservoirs (and dams remain one of his major interests). He then earned a Ph.D. at the University of Michigan, where he turned his attention to the Amazon after India barred American researchers following Nixon’s “tilt” towards Pakistan in the Bangladesh war. His research has tackled issues related to deforestation, dams, climate change, and environmental services. He is the author of hundreds of publications and a book, Human Carrying Capacity of the Brazilian Amazon. In 2006 Thompson-ISI identified him as the world’s second most-cited scientist on the subject of global warming, and in 2011 as the seventh in the area of sustainable development. He has received many national and international honors, including the U.N. Global 500 Award, the Conrad Wessel Prize, the Chico Mendes Prize, and election to the Brazilian Academy of Science.