Trustees


Patron – Kenneth Clarke


Kenneth Clarke, PC, QC, MP is a British politician, currently a Minister without Portfolio in the UK Government. He is one of Britain’s best-known politicians, and has been Minister of State for Health, Paymaster-General, Secretary of Health, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Home Secretary, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice. He is passionate about nature and its conservation, and can often be found watching birds in remote parts of the world. Ken Clarke was Chair of the Opwall Trust from 2000 to 2010

Patron – Professor Ian Swingland


Professor Ian Swingland was educated at Haberdashers’ Aske’s School, London, Edinburgh and Oxford Universities, and worked as a mathematician for Shell, as a biologist at Oxford, Edinburgh and with the Royal Society, and holds the Emeritus Chair in Conservation Biology at the University of Kent, where he founded The Durrell Institute for Conservation and Ecology (DICE), in addition to Chairs at the Universities of Michigan, Florence, Auckland, and Manchester Metropolitan. At London University he read zoology and social anthropology and published his first scientific paper in Nature in 1969 while an undergraduate. After working as a mathematician for Shell Research International for a short time he took a Ph.D. in ecology in the Forestry and Natural Resources Department at Edinburgh University on an FCO/ODA Scholarship. He was then employed as a research and management biologist in the Kafue National Park, Zambia helping to write the management plan. In 1974 he joined Oxford University Zoology Department and the Royal Society to work on the giant tortoises of Aldabra Atoll, Western Indian Ocean. Ian Swingland has worked on climate change for over a decade and with China and ADB since 2002 on China-GEF Country Planning Framework – Land Degradation in Dryland Ecosystems, He published a best-selling book ‘Capturing Carbon and Conserving biodiversity; a market approach’ and advises to the World Bank, the Global Environment Facility, the Asian Development Bank, and the UK Government on conservation and biodiversity management setting up some of the largest projects in the world. A leading authority on commercialising the sustainable use of biodiversity assets, he was appointed Board Chairman of Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development in Guyana by the President, the Commonwealth and HRH The Prince of Wales. He was made an OBE in 2007 for services to conservation. Currently he also chairs the Rural Regeneration Unit and the DICE Trust. Professor Swingland was Chairman of the Opwall Trust from 2010 to 2014.

Acting Chair – Professor Martin Speight

Prof. Speight is an Associate Professor in the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford. He is Director of Teaching and Admissions Co-ordinator for Biological Sciences at the University. His main research interests are in tropical forest ecology, conservation and management, plant health and insect pest management, tropical coastal ecology and connectivity, links between reefs and mangroves. He has successfully supervised 25 students to doctorates so far, in countries including Honduras, the British Virgin Islands, Sudan, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania (Zanzibar), Malaysia (Peninsular and Sabah). Martin has published text books on the ecology of insects and marine ecology. He has visited the Indonesia, South Africa, Mozambique and Honduras Operation Wallacea research sites.

Professor Aubrey Manning


Professor Manning was educated at University College London and Merton College Oxford where he completed his DPhil under the famous ethologist Niko Tinbergen. After National Service he joined the University of Edinburgh as an Assistant Lecturer rising to Professor of Natural History. Currently Emeritus Professor after retirement in 1997. His main research and teaching interests are on animal behaviour, development and evolution. He published a text book on this subject (five editions and much translated) and he has also published extensively in academic journals. Elected Fellow of the Royal Society Edinburgh (1973), received an OBE in 1998 and Honorary degrees from Toulouse and Open Universities. Now much involved with conservation in the broader sense and with public understanding of science. Professor Manning received the Zoological Society of London Silver Medal in 2003 for public understanding of science and has presented many TV and radio science programmes.

Dr. Edi Purwanto


Dr Purwanto is the Chair of the Operation Wallacea Trust (Indonesia). The Indonesian Trust is an independent Indonesian Yayasan (NGO) that provides the management of the Trust projects in Indonesia. Dr Purwanto joined the Trustees in 2009. Edi runs projects across central Indonesia, including the South-east Sulawesi Environmental Training project, and the Sulewesi and Sumatra Catchment Management project.

Dr. Tony Whitten


Dr Whitten is currently the Regional Director Asia Pacific for Flora and Fauna International. Before joining FFI, Tony worked in a similar role with the World Bank in the Asia Pacific area and has 35 years experience of managing successful wildlife conservation interventions in this region. He is also author of numerous academic papers and books including the Ecology of Sulawesi and Ecology of the Indonesian Seas. Dr Whitten is a strong proponent of encouraging business development in local communities to provide true alternative incomes to continuing with forest or reef destruction.

Simon Notley


Simon is joint founder of The Iron Bed Company, an innovative manufacturing, retail and furniture distribution company. Simon sold the company in 2005 to concentrate on personal projects. Simon has recently funded and participated in a turtle conservation project in The Turks and Caicos Islands, run in conjunction with The Marine Conservation Society, and is just starting a new business in the bicycle world.

Nathaniel Page


Nat Page studied Zoology at Oxford University (New College, 1972-75), and then Chinese and Japanese at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. He entered the Foreign Office, and worked for 14 years as a diplomat, in various postings including Thailand and Romania, before returning to his original nature conservation interests. Since 1996 he has been owner and manager a small (60 ha) organic beef farm in the west of England. In 2003 he helped to establish Fundatia ADEPT Transilvania, which is dedicated to protecting Romania’s exceptional high-nature farmed landscapes, and the small-scale farming communities that have created them. He is particularly interested in the biodiversity of man-made, farmed landscapes, and the ‘protection through use’ of their biodiversity by economic incentives, including the development of commercial incentives – adding value to local products – so that farmers are rewarded for maintaining low-input, extensive farming systems. He is also involved in policy development and advocacy at national level, in Romania, and at EU level.

Niall Mccann


Niall McCann studied zoology at the University of Bristol, and completed his PhD in the conservation of Baird’s tapir in Honduras at Cardiff University. In his career as a zoologist Niall has specialised in working with endangered species and has conducted research in the UK, Italy, Mauritius, Bolivia, Namibia, Guyana and Honduras, spending over 21 months living and working in remote parts of the world. As well as his involvement in research, Niall is actively engaged in ongoing conservation projects in Honduras and Guyana, where he is working on the creation and protection of National Parks and other Protected Areas; and in human-animal conflict mitigation projects in Malawi and Nepal. Niall made his television debut in 2011 and his wildlife documentary programmes are aired all over the world.

Dr Christopher Richards


Dr Christopher Richards is Chairman of Arysta LifeScience Corporation, the privately owned agrochemical company, of which he was CEO from 2004 to 2010. Chris is also Chairman of Oxitec Ltd, the bio-technology company targeting novel insect control methods and of Plant Health Care plc, a leading provider of naturally derived plant growth enhancers. He is also a Non-Executive Director of Cibus Global, a bio-technology company and of Dechra Pharmaceuticals plc, an international veterinary pharmaceutical business. Chris founded the Instituto Javari, an NGO working with local communities to conserve rainforest in the Javari River in Brazil. He farms in the West of England. Chris holds an MA in zoology and a D. Phil. in ecology from Oxford University and was then a researcher in ecology with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of the UK before joining ICI as a technical specialist.

Dr Richard Field


Dr Field is an Associate Professor of Biogeography at the University of Nottingham. He read Geography at the University of Oxford before taking an MSc in Ecology at the University of Durham and a PhD in Ecology from Imperial College London. He has been Secretary of the International Biogeography Society since 2011. He has also been on 10 expeditions to the tropics and sub-tropics, five of them to Honduras with Operation Wallacea and three to Krakatau, Indonesia. His research interests focus on biodiversity and range from purely theoretical (e.g. the causes of the latitudinal biodiversity gradients) to much more applied and conservation oriented.

Colin Bennett

Colin Bennett joined Shell International in Den Haag and served in NW Borneo and other group operating companies including Shell UK. He held executive positions with the French group TOTAL S.A in strategic planning & economics and at ExxonMobil where he was a member of Management Council, Vice President and Director overseeing both the business and technical service directorates at Mobil Gas Marketing and Mobil North Sea. After the Millennium he worked extensively in the UK public service and not–for–profit sectors, across local government, environment, justice, education and health. He was appointed Chief Executive at the Chief Fire Officers Association under the Bain reform of the UK Fire & Rescue Service; also Chief Executive at the national mutual Benenden Healthcare; and Chief Executive at the UK qualifications awarding body the National Open College Network. Colin has led successful business start-ups in publishing and tourism, has continued a strong interest in earth sciences and environmental protection and is a guest lecturer at Aberdeen University. He advised on modernising the UK Environment Agency and was formerly chair at the Atlantic Margin Joint Industry Group covering sensitive marine waters from the Barents Sea through to the Atlantic west of Greenland. He holds other board positions as chairman of the medical biotechnology body EuroBiotix and also at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and appointed Alan Tayler Advisory Fellow by the University of Oxford. He enjoys lifelong pastimes in geology, astronomy, ornithology and plants.