The 2014 Aldo Leopold Conservation Award from the American Society of Mammalogists is awarded to Dr. Lawrence Heaney. The Award is given to well-established individuals who have made lasting contributions to the conservation of mammals and their habitats.
Dr. Heaney has worked tirelessly over the past three decades to creatively explore, document and conserve the highly diverse mammalian fauna of one of the most diverse oceanic archipelagos on our planet. During that time, he also was heavily engaged in training the next generation of local mammalogists; many of these individuals are now in professional conservation, resource management, or academic positions in this archipelago. His work has been sponsored by the National Science Foundation and a wide range of conservation NGOs and foundations. As a student, our awardee was naturally drawn to Southeast Asia through his interest in biogeography and his appreciation that islands of this part of the world provided fertile ground for research into the diversification of insular faunas. Interest in this region early in his career led to a lengthy and highly productive research program, with more than 160 publications that detail impressive new taxonomic discoveries, new insights into the biogeography of the region, conservation biology of endemic species and phylogenetic relationships among a significant portion of the mammalian fauna (especially rodents and bats) of this Southeast Asian region. All aspects of his research are oriented toward conservation. In addition to his high research productivity, our awardee also was instrumental in the formation and development of several conservation efforts in the region including new conservation NGOs (Wildlife Conservation Society of the Philippines) and through his training efforts, the development of human capacity in conservation biology for the region. He also has made information on mammals accessible to the general public by publishing beautiful popular books focused on conservation topics for the region including the widely acclaimed Vanishing Treasures of the Philippine Rain Forest.
Dr. Heaney is Curator and Head of Mammals at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.