Dr Bob Smith
Reader in Conservation Science
Identifying priority conservation areas; protected areas; conservation and corruption; conservation and marketing
- - R.J.Smith@kent.ac.uk
- - 01227 (82)3667
School Roles and Responsibilities
Director of the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE)
My work as a conservation scientist has mainly focused on identifying priority areas for conservation and designing protected area networks. Much of this work has involved leading long-running projects in Southern Africa and the UK, but I have worked on projects in 22 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America.
My research also encompasses a broad range of conservation topics, including understanding spatial patterns of deforestation and human-wildlife conflict. In particular, I have published seminal work on the influence of corruption in conservation and the role of marketing in conservation.
I am also an Honorary Senior Fellow at the United Nations Environment Programme – World Conservation Monitoring Centre, the Founder of the Izele online conservation social network, on the Editorial Board of the journal Oryx and a member of the IUCN’s Species Survival Commission and World Commission on Protected Areas Joint Task Force on Biodiversity and Protected Areas.
Website: http://anotherbobsmith.wordpress.comback to top
Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository
Identifying priority areas for conservation
The majority of my research focuses on designing protected area networks and conservation landscapes using the systematic conservation planning approach, with recent projects on Guyana, South Korea and West Africa. I also run two long-term projects that: (a) work with local partners to design a transnational conservation planning system for the Maputaland Centre of Endemism, a region that falls within Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland, and; (b) involve collaborating with Natural England to investigate the trade-offs between different approaches for creating large conservation areas.
I am also interested in the broader aspects of identifying priority areas and my research has informed policy and practice at the local and global scale. I have published work on the importance of local involvement in conservation planning and I am collaborating with a range of partners on a project to identify trends and gaps in the global protected area network. I am also involved in a project led by the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) and the Species Survival Commission (SSC) to update the Key Biodiversity Area approach for identifying priority areas.
Systematic conservation planning software
I have developed two software packages for identifying priority conservation areas and designing conservation landscapes and seascapes:
- CLUZ (Conservation Land-Use Zoning software) is a user-friendly QGIS plugin for the Marxan conservation planning software that also lets people develop and modify plans on-screen. The CLUZ homepage is here.
- MinPatch lets users design viable protected area networks, where each protected area is larger than a specified minimum size threshold. It modifies outputs from the Marxan conservation planning software. The MinPatch homepage is here.
Corruption and conservation
My work on conservation and corruption initially focused on broad trends and the potential impacts of corruption on conservation project effectiveness. More recently I have published on the potential impacts of corruption on elephant conservation. In 2016, I co-organised a workshop together with Transparency International and WWF as part of the inaugural meeting of the Network for Countering Conservation-related Corruption.
Large mammal conservation
My work in Africa has also focused on large mammal conservation and I am particularly interested in human-wildlife conflict and understanding the spatial and anthropogenic factors that determine conservation success.
Marketing and conservation
I am interested in how marketing is used in conservation and the role of flagship species for raising funds and awareness. As part of this work I led a project that developed the concept of “Cinderella Species”, which are aesthetically appealing but currently overlooked species that could be used in future flagship species campaigns.back to top
Current PhD students
- Gwili Gibbon: Understanding elephant habitat use and impacts in Kenya's montane forests
- Thirza Loffeld: Professional Development in Wildlife Conservation: identifying gaps and barriers from case studies in developing countries (co-supervisor)
- Trang Nguyen, DICE. The impact of Traditional Chinese Medicine on African Wildlife: The role of East Asian immigrants (co-supervisor)
- Rachel Sykes, DICE. Measuring the effectiveness of the global protected area network: how much is enough and how close are we?
- Lydia Tiller, DICE. Understanding how land-use change in the Transmara District in Kenya is driving human-elephant conflict and elephant movement
- Laura Thomas-Walters: Social marketing and behaviour change for demand reduction in wildlife trade
Previous PhD Students
- Dr Henry Brink (2010). Hunting for sustainability: lion conservation in Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania.
- Dr Mark Darmaraj (2012). Conservation and ecology of tigers in a logged-primary forest mosaic in Peninsular Malaysia.
- Dr Juliette Delavenne (2012). Conservation of marine habitats under multiple human uses. Methods, objectives and constraints to optimize a Marine Protected Areas network in the Eastern English Channel
- Dr Nico Galvez (2016). Conservation of elusive forest carnivores: effects of fragmentation on the small felid güiña or kodkod (Leopardus guigna) in the temperate forest of Southern Chile
- Dr Winnie Kiiru (2012). Understanding the spatial, temporal and socio-economic factors affecting human-elephant conflict around Amboseli National Park in Kenya
- Dr Barney Long (2005). Identification of priority areas for integrated conservation management in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam.
- Dr Kristian Metcalfe (2013). Investigating the biological and socio-economic impacts of potential marine protected area networks in the Eastern English Channel.
- Dr Bruno Nhancale (2011). Strengthening the Maputaland systematic conservation planning system.
- Dr Diogo Veríssimo (2013). Advancing the flagship concept through conservation marketing,.
- Dr Charlotte Walters (2014). Present and future conservation of European bats.
Found of Izele, the online conservation social network
Honorary Senior Fellow, United Nations Environment Programme – World Conservation Monitoring Centre
International Editorial Board of Oryx, International Journal of Conservationback to top