International Wetland Management Adviser

bena.smith@wwt.org.uk

About me

My conservation career started in the mid-1990s with practical work placements in the Wildlife Trusts and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. I then completed a Masters degree in Conservation Management through the University of East Anglia with a dissertation on Fire Ecology in Boreal Forests with a focus on Caledonian pine forests.

After completing 3 years as a Reserve Officer in the Wildlife Trusts, I then headed overseas to work as a forest researcher with a Nigerian based NGO, then onto Hong Kong for 12 years to manage the Mai Po Nature Reserve Ramsar Site for WWF.

In Asia I travelled widely throughout mainland China, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea advising wetland managers on best practices in restoration, creation and management techniques. I carried out large-scale wetland habitat management and enhancement projects to benefit a range of species of global conservation concern, notably the iconic Black-faced Spoonbill Platalea minor.

After joining WWT in 2016 as a Principal Consultant, I moved into the Conservation Directorate in 2019 and recently became a Professional Wetland Scientist under certification by the Society of Wetland Scientists.

Work

I work within a team to delivery WWT’s ambitions in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. My specific role is to provide specialist advice on coastal and freshwater wetland management, restoration and creation to our projects in East Asia, and in a Senior Project Manager capacity oversee WWT’s community-based conservation programme in Cambodia.

Skills

  • Wetland habitat creation design
  • Wetland restoration techniques
  • Wetland monitoring
  • Wetland centre design and operation
  • Conservation planning

Publications

Conklin, J.R., Verkuil, Y.I. and Smith, B.R. (2014) Prioritizing Migratory Shorebirds for Conservation Action on the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. WWF-Hong Kong.

Stanton, D., Smith, B.R. and Leung, K. (2014) Status and Roosting Characteristics of Collared Crow Corvus torquatus at the Mai Po Nature Reserve, Hong Kong. Forktail, 30, 79-83.

The Designation and Management of Ramsar Sites – A Practitioner’s Guide. Ramsar Regional Centre – East Asia (2017).