Robert J. Smith

Robert J. Smith
University of Kent | KENT · Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology

Conservation Biology

About

119
Publications
64,440
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5,215
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Introduction
Dr Bob Smith is a Professor in Conservation Science and the Director of the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology at the University of Kent. His research has mainly focused on identifying priority areas for conservation and designing protected area networks. It also encompasses a broad range of conservation topics, such as understanding spatial patterns of deforestation and human-wildlife conflict, the influence of corruption in conservation and the role of marketing in conservation.
Education
September 1996 - September 2000
University of Kent
Field of study
  • Conservation Biology
September 1995 - September 1996
University of Kent
Field of study
  • Conservation Biology
September 1990 - June 1993
University of Oxford
Field of study
  • Zoology

Publications

Publications (119)
Article
As part of the Post‐2020 Biodiversity Framework, nations are assessing progress over the past decade in addressing the underlying drivers that influence direct pressures on biodiversity and formulating new policies and strategies for the decade to come. For marine conservation, global marine protected area (MPA) coverage is still falling short of t...
Preprint
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1.Reducing demand for wildlife products has been recognised as an important global priority, especially with fears that there are expanding markets for certain taxa. However, consumer demand is a complicated phenomenon and as with many conservation issues, it can involve numerous interacting biological, social, political and socio-economic factors,...
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Abstract Conservation area networks in most countries are fragmented and inadequate. To tackle this in England, government policies are encouraging stakeholders to create local‐level nature recovery networks. Here, we describe work led by a wildlife organization that used the systematic conservation planning approach to identify a nature recovery n...
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The conservation flagship approach is a valuable tool for raising funds and awareness, but species-based campaigns have been criticized for providing little benefit to wider biodiversity. One possible solution is to use conservation areas as flagships, but we lack data on the types of area that most appeal to potential donors. Here, we used an onli...
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In the search for new ways to bring attention to the conservation of neglected species, marketing is increasingly recognised as offering new insights. Brand creation frameworks provide guidelines to create names or symbols for products that will differentiate them from the competition. In this paper, we examine if species common names that follow t...
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Development corridors are extensive, often transnational and linear, geographical areas targeted for investment to help achieve sustainable development. They often comprise the creation of hard infrastructure (i.e., physical structures) and soft infrastructure (i.e., policies, plans, and programmes) involving a variety of actors. They are globally...
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1. To be effective, the next generation of conservation practitioners and managers need to be critical thinkers with a deep understanding of how to make evidence-based decisions and of the value of evidence synthesis. 2. If, as educators, we do not make these priorities a core part of what we teach, we are failing to prepare our students to make an...
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1. To be effective, the next generation of conservation practitioners and managers need to be critical thinkers with a deep understanding of how to make evidence‐based decisions and of the value of evidence synthesis. 2. If, as educators, we do not make these priorities a core part of what we teach, we are failing to prepare our students to make an...
Article
Human-wildlife conflict is increasing due to rapid natural vegetation loss and fragmentation. We investigated seasonal, temporal and spatial trends of elephant crop-raiding in the Trans Mara, Kenya during 2014–2015 and compared our results with a previous study from 1999 to 2000. Our results show extensive changes in crop-raiding patterns. There wa...
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Robust impact evaluations are needed for conservation to learn and grow as a field. Currently we lack a large body of evidence on the effects of behaviour change interventions in social‐ecological systems. By uncovering mechanistic relationships and establishing causality we can refine future programmes to enhance likelihood of effectiveness. Altho...
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The dominant approach to combating the illegal wildlife trade has traditionally been to restrict the supply of wildlife products. Yet conservationists increasingly recognise the importance of implementing demand‐side interventions that target the end consumers in the trade chain. Their aim is to curb the consumption of wildlife or shift consumption...
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The illegal wildlife trade threatens the future of many species, and undermines economies and livelihoods. Conservationists have largely responded with supply‐side interventions, such as antipoaching patrols, but these often fail to stem the tide of wildlife trafficking. There is now increasing interest in demand‐side interventions, which seek to l...
Article
When evaluating the impact of a biodiversity conservation intervention, a ‘counterfactual’ is needed, as true experimental controls are typically unavailable. Counterfactuals are possible alternative system trajectories in the absence of an intervention and comparing observed outcomes against the chosen counterfactual allows the impact (change attr...
Chapter
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Conservation Research, Policy and Practice - edited by William J. Sutherland April 2020
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Wildlife crime in protected areas remains a major challenge to conservation. However, little is known about the role of local communities in providing information on illegal activities to help improve law enforcement efforts in protected areas. As an initial exploration of this complex topic, we aimed to understand the perceptions of law enforcemen...
Article
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Cambridge Core - Ecology and Conservation - Conservation Research, Policy and Practice - edited by William J. Sutherland
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Conservation strategies based on charismatic flagship species, such as tigers, lions, and elephants, successfully attract funding from individuals and corporate donors. However, critics of this species-focused approach argue it wastes resources and often does not benefit broader biodiversity. If true, then the best way of raising conservation funds...
Preprint
Full-text available
The dominant approach to combating the illegal wildlife trade has traditionally been to restrict the supply of wildlife products. Yet conservationists increasingly recognise the importance of implementing demand-side interventions that target the end consumers in the trade chain. Their aim is to curb the consumption of wildlife or shift consumption...
Article
Full-text available
Systematic conservation planning is the most widely used approach for designing conservation area systems and other types of ecological network. Thus, user-friendly decision support tools are needed to guide conservation planners when using this approach. CLUZ is a QGIS plugin that can be used for on-screen conservation planning and also acts as an...
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Systematic conservation planning and Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) are the two most widely used approaches for identifying important sites for biodiversity. However, there is limited advice for conservation policy makers and practitioners on when and how they should be combined. Here we provide such guidance, using insights from the recently develo...
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Terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems are connected via multiple biophysical and ecological processes. Identifying and quantifying links among ecosystems is necessary for the uptake of integrated conservation actions across realms. Such actions are particularly important for species using habitats in more than one realm during their daily...
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Conflicts are an inherent element in the establishment and management of protected areas. Even though there is ample literature about conflicts in protected areas and the field of conservation has investigated them for decades, no consensus exists about the object itself of analysis: the conflict. In this article, we describe three different approa...
Article
Sekar et al. argue that there is unequivocal evidence that ivory trade bans are necessary for conserving elephants, and that a growing consensus removes the need to consider or incorporate alternative values in this debate. In doing so, they overlook relevant literature [e.g., (1–3)] and do not account for marginalized voices from key range states...
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Spatial conservation prioritization is used globally to guide decision making with the aim of delivering the best conservation gain per unit investment. However, despite many publications on the topic, the extent to which this approach is used by decision makers has been unclear. To investigate the degree to which prioritization has been adopted by...
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Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) play a key role in biodiversity conservation. The majority of these organisations rely on public donations to fund their activities, and therefore fundraising success is a determinant of conservation outcomes. In spite of this integral relationship, the key principals for fundraising success in conservation are...
Data
The familiarity of species used by the Australian Geographic Society as flagships for their fundraising campaigns, measured as percent of respondents who recognise a given species. For the projects were more than one species or life stage was represented in the marketing materials, a mean of the percentage of respondents familiar with both relevant...
Data
The appeal of species used by the Australian Geographic Society as flagships for their fundraising campaigns, measured as mean rank across respondents. Lowest rank indicates higher appeal. For the projects were more than one species or life stage was represented in the marketing materials, a mean of appeal mean rank for both relevant photos was use...
Data
Model selection to investigate the importance of flagship characteristics on individual donor behaviour at ΔAICc < 4. (DOCX)
Data
Gantt chart illustrating in black the timeline of the fundraising campaigns by the Australian Geographic Society included in this study. Red bars indicate shorter ad hoc emergency fundraisers, those that were organized in response to unforeseen natural disasters. (DOCX)
Article
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Poaching for ivory has caused a steep decline in African elephant (Loxodonta africana, see the photo) populations over the past decade (1). This crisis has fueled a contentious global debate over which ivory policy would best protect elephants: banning all ivory trade or enabling regulated trade to incentivize and fund elephant conservation (2). Th...
Article
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Poaching for ivory has caused a steep decline in African elephant (Loxodonta africana, see the photo) populations over the past decade (1). This crisis has fueled a contentious global debate over which ivory policy would best protect elephants: banning all ivory trade or enabling regulated trade to incentivize and fund elephant conservation (2). Th...
Article
Human-wildlife conflict (HWC) is a widespread issue of increasing concern to conservationists, as it impacts people's lives and livelihoods and reduces their tolerance to the species concerned. HWC is often interpreted as a result of people encroaching upon and destroying natural habitats, but some incidents could be linked to economically driven e...
Article
Systematic conservation planning (SCP) is a rapidly advancing discipline aimed at providing decision support for choices between alternate conservation actions. SCP is often used to inform choices about areas to protect, in order to optimize outcomes for biodiversity while minimizing societal costs. Despite the widespread application of SCP approac...
Article
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In recent decades, a substantial number of popular press articles have described an increase in demand for certain species in the pet trade due to films such as “Finding Nemo”, “Ninja turtles”, and “Harry Potter”. Nevertheless, such assertions are largely supported only by anecdotal evidence. Given the role of the wildlife trade in the spread of pa...
Data
Relationship between Harry Potter popularity and owl demand with a one-year time lag. Relationship between three measures of Harry Potter popularity (yearly number of Harry Potter books sold in the UK across all versions and languages; yearly number of tickets sold for Harry Potter movies in the UK, and yearly mentions in UK newspapers) and three m...
Data
Effect of the number of Harry Potter newspaper mentions on three measures of demand for owls in the United Kingdom. Shown are the individual effects (lines) and +/- two standard errors (shading). Partial residuals are shown with dots. The smooth term controlling for time is shown in the right column. The effects shown are multiplicative and the pre...
Data
List of wildlife sanctuaries contacted to assess the abandonment of pet owls described in the UK press as a consequence of the end of the Harry Potter film series. (DOCX)
Data
Effect of the number of Harry Potter movie tickets purchased on three measures of demand for owls in the United Kingdom. Shown are the individual effects (lines) and +/- two standard errors (shading). Partial residuals are shown with dots. The smooth term controlling for time is shown in the right column. The effects shown are multiplicative and th...
Article
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Most countries have committed to protect 17% of their terrestrial area by 2020 through Aichi Target 11 of the Convention on Biological Diversity, with a focus on protecting areas of particular importance for biodiversity. This means national-scale spatial conservation prioritisations are needed to help meet this target and guide broader conservatio...
Article
Protected areas (PAs) are vital for conserving biodiversity, but many PA networks consist of fragmented habitat patches that poorly represent species and ecosystems. One possible solution is to create conservation landscapes that surround and link these PAs. This often involves working with a range of landowners and agencies to develop large-scale...
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Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) are sites identified as globally important for bird species conservation. Marine IBAs are one of the few comprehensive multi-species datasets available for the marine environment, and their use in conservation planning will likely increase as countries race to protect 10% of their territorial waters by 2...
Article
Conservationists often complain that their study species are ignored by donors. However, marketing theory could help understand and increase the profile and fundraising potential of these neglected species. We used linear regression with multimodel inference to analyse data on online behaviour from the websites of the World Wildlife Fund-US (WWF-US...
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Conservation Planning: Informed Decisions for a Healthier Planet by Craig. R. Groves and Edward T. Game (2015), 608 pp., Roberts and Company Publishers Inc., Colorado, USA. ISBN 978-1-936221-51-6 (pbk), USD 42.00. - Volume 51 Issue 2 - Robert J. Smith
Article
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Cumulative human impacts have led to the degradation of marine ecosystems and the decline of biodiversity in the European and contiguous seas. Effective conservation measures are urgently needed to reverse these trends. Conservation must entail societal choices, underpinned by human values and worldviews that differ between the countries bordering...
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It is argued that trophy hunting of large, charismatic mammal species can have considerable conservation benefits but only if undertaken sustainably. Social-ecological theory suggests such sustainability only results from developing governance systems that balance financial and biological requirements. Here we use lion (Panthera leo) trophy hunting...
Article
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are the cornerstone of most marine conservation strategies, but the effectiveness of each one partly depends on its size and distance to other MPAs in a network. Despite this, current recommendations on ideal MPA size and spacing vary widely, and data are lacking on how these constraints might influence the overall spa...
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One contribution of 16 to a theme issue 'Measuring the difference made by protected areas: methods, applications and implications for policy and practice'. Several global strategies for protected area (PA) expansion have been proposed to achieve the Convention on Biological Diversity's Aichi target 11 as a means to stem biodiversity loss, as requir...
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World governments have committed to increase the global protected areas coverage by 2020, but the effectiveness of this commitment for protecting biodiversity depends on where new protected areas are located. Threshold-based and complementarity-based approaches have been independently used to identify important sites for biodiversity. Here we bring...
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There are insufficient resources available to manage the world's existing protected area portfolio effectively, so the most important sites should be prioritised in investment decision-making. Sophisticated conservation planning and assessment tools developed to identify locations for new protected areas can provide an evidence base for such priori...
Article
AimWe conduct the first assessment of likely future climate change impacts for biodiversity across the West African protected area (PA) network using climate projections that capture important climate regimes (e.g. West African Monsoon) and mesoscale processes that are often poorly simulated in general circulation models (GCMs).LocationWest Africa....
Article
1. Well-designed marine protected area (MPA) networks can deliver a range of ecological, economic and social benefits, and so a great deal of research has focused on developing spatial conservation prioritization tools to help identify important areas. 2. However, whilst these software tools are designed to identify MPA networks that both represent...
Chapter
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In the past decade, systematic conservation planning tools have been increasingly and successfully used to set spatial conservation plans that meet quantitative protection targets while minimizing enforcement and socioeconomic costs. However, when applied to fisheries, systematic conservation planning fails to account for (1) changes in fleet dynam...
Article
Responses of biodiversity to changes in both land cover and climate are recognized [ 1 ] but still poorly understood [ 2 ]. This poses significant challenges for spatial planning as species could shift, contract, expand, or maintain their range inside or outside protected areas [ 2–4 ]. We examine this problem in Borneo, a global biodiversity hotsp...
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Governments have committed to conserving ≥17% of terrestrial and ≥10% of marine environments globally, especially “areas of particular importance for biodiversity” through “ecologically representative” Protected Area (PA) systems or other “area-based conservation measures,” while individual countries have committed to conserve 3–50% of their land a...
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The growing prominence of climate change has led to concerns that other important environmental issues, such as biodiversity loss, are being overshadowed. We investigate this assertion by examining trends in biodiversity and climate change coverage within the scientific and newspaper press, as well as the relative distribution of funding through th...
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Governments have agreed to expand the global protected area network from 13% to 17% of the world's land surface by 2020 (Aichi target 11) and to prevent the further loss of known threatened species (Aichi target 12). These targets are interdependent, as protected areas can stem biodiversity loss when strategically located and effectively managed. H...