Dr Brett Bennett with trees in the background.

Brett M. Bennett is an Associate Professor in Modern History at Western Sydney University. He is also a Senior Research Association at the University of Johannesburg and a former Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow (2011-2013). His research uses historical methods to investigate how the interaction of human actions and natural processes created contemporary ecosystems, scientific ideas, and conservation policies.

Bennett is the author of Plantations and protected areas: a global history of forest management (Cambridge [MA]: The MIT Press, 2015), co-author with Frederick J. Kruger of Forestry and water conservation in South Africa: history, science, policy (Canberra: ANU Press, 2015), and co-author with Gregory Barton on the ARC-Funded book Saving the world the first time: ideas of climate change before global warming that is under contract with Reaktion Press. He has authored articles for a variety of leading international journals. This work has been featured in numerous national and international media outlets including The New Republic, ABC National Radio's The Science Show and Hindsight, The Australian, The Mail and Guardian (South Africa), and The Canberra Times.

Bennett's ongoing research focuses on species introductions, the globalisation of protected areas, forestry for economic and social development, water conservation, and the history of globalisation in the British world. He is currently a Co-Chief Investigator on an ARC-Funded Discovery Project, The Crisis in International Heritage Conservation in an Age of Shifting Global Power (2014-2016).


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Awards and Recognition


Areas of Research/Expertise


Selected Publications

Bennett, BM & Barton, G (forthcoming, under contract), Saving the world the first time: ideas of climate change before global warming, Reaktion Press.

Bennett, B 2017, '"If we go along with the mood of the moment, our books become tombstones in graveyards no one visits anymore": Interview with Tony Hopkins' (opens in a new window), Itinerario, vol. 41, no. 1, pp. 3-14.

Bennett, B & Barton, G 2017, 'Generalizations in global history: dealing with diversity without losing the big picture' (opens in a new window), Itinerario, vol. 41, no. 1, pp. 15-25.

Bennett, BM 2017, 'Decolonization, environmentalism and nationalism in Australia and South Africa' (opens in a new window), Itinerario, vol. 41, no. 1, pp. 27-50.

Brett, BM 2015, 'Margaret Levyns and the decline of ecological liberalism in the Southwest Cape, 1890–1975', South African Historical Journal, vol. 67, no. 1, pp. 64-84.

Brett, BM 2015, 'Forestry in reconstruction South Africa: imperial visions, colonial realities', Britain and the World, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 225-245.

Bennett, BM & Kruger, FJ 2015, Forestry and water conservation in South Africa: history, science, policy (opens in a new window), ANU Press, Canberra. 

Bennett, BM 2015, Plantations and protected areas: a global history of forest management (opens in a new window), The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

Bennett, B 2014, 'Model invasions and the development of national concerns over invasive introduced trees: insights from South African history', Biological Invasions, vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 499-512.

Dickie, I, van Wilgen, B, Bennett, B, Burrows, L, Nuñez, M, Peltzer, D, Porte, A, Richardson, D, Rejmánek, M & Rundel, P 2014, 'Conflicting values: ecosystem services and invasive tree management', Biological Invasions, vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 705-719.


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