Peter Ashton is professor emeritus at Harvard University. He has been director of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard, president of the International Association of Botanical Gardens, a governor of the U.S. Nature Conservancy and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He has received the Award for Environmental Achievement of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Sultan Quaboos Prize for Environmental Conservation of UNESCO. He is the author of six books and numerous papers, mainly on the trees and forests of tropical Asia.