Postimees names UT lead researcher Asko Lõhmus Person of the Year 2017

The daily newspaper Postimees has recognised lead research fellow in conservation biology of the University of Tartu Asko Lõhmus with the title “Person of the Year 2017”.

“Lõhmus has led the forest ecology and logging discussion in a balanced and well-argued manner, and thereby significantly contributed to the nature conservation debate in Estonia,” Postimees editor-in-chief Lauri Hussar explained the choice of the staff.

Protection of the ecological integrity of the natural environment has been Asko Lõhmus’ main academic and also community activity for years. In an interview to Postimees, Lõhmus said that when we speak of the nature, we are also speaking of the society. “Human impact on the natural environment is so great. If once man lived separately from nature, today every forest depends on someone’s decision. Someone has decided to either keep it, manage it or cut it down,” said Lõhmus.

Postimees asked Asko Lõhmus how much courage it takes to intervene in a debate in which there is so much confusion. “I think a city person is as afraid to go into the forest as a forest person is to come to the ‘human forest’. But for a good cause, you’ll find the courage,” said Lõhmus.

Postimees has given the award of the Person of the Year since 1997. The last time a UT staff member was named the Person of the Year was in 2013 when the title was given to Mart Noorma, project manager of the Estonian students’ satellite EstCube-1. Noorma led the process that resulted in launching Estonia’s first satellite into space.

Asko Lõhmus also received another recognition this week: the Estonian Council of Environmental NGOs gave the Green Award of the Year 2017 to Asko Lõhmus and Raul Rosenvald, senior research fellow of silviculture of the Estonian University of Life Sciences, for their contribution to bringing scientific argumentation into the public debate on forest and forestry issues.