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UCR Tropical Forest Authority Elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

UCR Tropical Forest Authority Elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

(May 2, 2000)

Arturo Gómez-Pompa, a world authority on tropical forest ecology and botany professor at the University of California, Riverside, has been elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an honor considered one of the most prestigious in academia.

He was among 154 new fellows and 15 foreign honorary members recognized for their distinguished contributions to science, scholarship, public affairs and the arts. The American Academy of Arts and Sciences was founded in 1780 to cultivate the arts and sciences. Members apply their diverse expertise to studies on issues of major intellectual and public concern.

Gómez-Pompa was recognized for a 40-year career in studying and teaching biology, tropical botany, conservation, ecology, ethnobiology and the land use practices of native peoples of the tropics.

A faculty member at UCR since 1986, he first sounded the alarm about the potential environmental crisis facing the world's rainforests with a 1972 article in the journal Science which drew attention to the then-emerging issue of tropical forests as non-renewable resources requiring immediate conservation efforts. The article has been described as a seminal work on the issue.

Since then, he has conducted research focusing on tropical forest conservation and management. And, he has worked to find alternative approaches for sustainable management of tropical biodiversity, in part by forging alliances between scientists, government agencies in Mexico and indigenous populations to protect nature.

One such effort is the El Eden Ecological Reserve on the northeast portion of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. The reserve, created by a group of Mexican conservationists led by Gómez-Pompa, is Mexico's first privately owned protected area dedicated to research in biodiversity conservation and management.

Gómez-Pompa, who holds the title of Distinguished Professor of Botany at UCR, is also serving as University Professor, a prestigious University of California faculty appointment that is reserved for scholars of international distinction who are also respected as teachers of exceptional ability.

Election as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is the latest of many honors bestowed on Gómez-Pompa, including the 1997 Chevron Conservation Award and the 1994 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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