John W. Terborgh

John W. Terborgh

James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science

John W. Terborgh is a James B. Duke Professor of Environmental Science and is Co-Director of the Center for Tropical Conservation at Duke University. He is a member of the National Academy of Science, and for the past thirty-five years, he has been actively involved in tropical ecology and conservation issues. An authority on avian and mammalian ecology in neotropical forests, Dr. Terborgh has published numerous articles and books on conservation themes. Since 1973 he has operated a field station in Peru's Manu National Park where he has overseen the research of more than 100 investigators. Dr. Terborgh earlier served on the faculties of the University of Maryland and Princeton University. In June 1992 he was awarded a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship in recognition of his distinguished work in tropical ecology, and in April 1996 he was awarded the National Academy of Science Daniel Giraud Elliot medal for his research, and for his book Diversity and the Tropical Rainforest. He has served on several boards and advisory committees related to conservation, including the Wildlands Project, Cultural Survival, The Nature Conservancy, The World Wildlife Fund and both the Primate and Ecology Specialist Groups of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

In The News


Phillips, OL, and Brienen, RJW. "Carbon uptake by mature Amazon forests has mitigated Amazon nations’ carbon emissions." Carbon Balance and Management 12, no. 1 (December 2017).
Terborgh, J, Huanca Nuñez, N, Alvarez Loayza, P, and Cornejo Valverde, F. "Gaps contribute tree diversity to a tropical floodplain forest." Ecology 98, no. 11 (November 2017): 2895-2903.
Johns, D, Terborgh, J, Beazley, KF, Estes, JA, Foreman, D, Miller, B, Noss, R, Soulé, M, and Ripple, WJ. "We Need a Biologically Sound North American Conservation Plan." BioScience 67, no. 8 (August 2017): 685-686.
Terborgh, J, and Peres, CA. "Do Community-Managed Forests Work? A Biodiversity Perspective." Land 6, no. 2 (June 2017): 22-22.
Esquivel-Muelbert, A, Baker, TR, Dexter, KG, Lewis, SL, ter Steege, H, Lopez-Gonzalez, G, Monteagudo Mendoza, A, Brienen, R, Feldpausch, TR, Pitman, N, Alonso, A, van der Heijden, G, Peña-Claros, M, Ahuite, M, Alexiaides, M, Álvarez Dávila, E, Murakami, AA, Arroyo, L, Aulestia, M, Balslev, H, Barroso, J, Boot, R, Cano, A, Chama Moscoso, V, Comiskey, JA, Cornejo, F, Dallmeier, F, Daly, DC, Dávila, N, Duivenvoorden, JF, Duque Montoya, AJ, Erwin, T, Di Fiore, A, Fredericksen, T, and Fuentes, A et al. "Seasonal drought limits tree species across the Neotropics." Ecography 40, no. 5 (May 2017): 618-629.

Recent Grants


ENVIRON 899: Master's Project (ENVIRON 899: Master's Project)

Contact Information

3705C Erwin Rd
Durham, NC 27705-5015
Box 90381
Durham, NC 27708-0381


Ph.D., Harvard University (1963)
M.A., Harvard University (1960)
B.A., Harvard University (1958)