Avian ecology, biodiversity conservation, Bird Friendly certification, agroforestry, sustainable agriculture
- Research Ecologist, Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center 2019 -
Education And Training
Ruth Bennett is a research ecologist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's Migratory Bird Center, which is dedicated to understanding and conserving the grand phenomenon of bird migration. Bennett focuses on optimizing the conservation of birds and other wildlife in working landscapes, especially coffee and cocoa growing regions of Latin America.
Bennett’s projects include:
- Improving the environmental and social outcomes of the Bird Friendly coffee certification
- Identifying which tree species provide the best resources for birds in coffee agroecosystems
- Understanding coffee farmer decisions about shade tree management
- Establishing standards for Bird Friendly cocoa
- Developing conservation plans for declining migratory birds during their nonbreeding life stages
As part of the interdisciplinary Bird Friendly team, Bennett is working to build a Bird Friendly standard that applies to multiple crop types and provides conservation outcomes at both farm and landscape scales. She is also an expert on the nonbreeding ecology and conservation of the golden-winged warbler and, as an active member of the golden-winged warbler working group, led the development of a conservation plan for the species. Bennett continues to collaborate on international conservation planning for migratory birds. She recently helped launch a Bird Friendly Coalition to bring together market-based conservation initiatives across the hemisphere.
Bennett developed a love of migratory birds and coffee agriculture while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras at the Universidad Nacional de Agricultura. There she helped implement a biological education program for elementary schools within National Park buffer zones. She also found a population of overwintering female golden-winged warblers, which she studied for a master's degree in applied ecology at Michigan Technological University in 2012 and a doctorate in applied ecology from Cornell University in 2018.
In her spare time, Bennett enjoys bird watching, hiking and running around with her dog in big fields.
- Gatti, Nicolas, Gomez, Miguel, I., Bennett, Ruth E., Sillett, T. Scott, and Bowe, Justine. 2022. "Eco-labels matter: Coffee consumers value agrochemical-free attributes over biodiversity conservation." Food Quality and Preference, 98. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodqual.2021.104509. 2022
- Valente, Jonathon J., Bennett, Ruth E., Gómez, Camila, Bayly, Nicholas J., Rice, Robert A., Marra, Peter P., Ryder, T. Brandt, and Sillett, T. Scott. 2022. "Land-sparing and land-sharing provide complementary benefits for conserving avian biodiversity in coffee-growing landscapes." Biological Conservation, 270. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2022.109568. 2022
- Bennett, Ruth E., Sillett, T. Scott, Rice, Robert A., and Marra, Peter P. 2021. "Impact of cocoa agricultural intensification on bird diversity and community composition." Conservation Biology, https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13779. 2021
- Bennett, Ruth E., Rodewald, Amanda D., Rosenberg, Kenneth, V., Chandler, Richard, Chavarria-Duriaux, Liliana, Gerwin, John A., King, David I., and Larkin, Jeffery L. 2019. "Drivers of variation in migration behavior for a linked population of long-distance migratory passerine." The Auk, 136, (4) Article ukz051. https://doi.org/10.1093/auk/ukz051. 2019
- Bennett, Ruth E., Rodewald, Amanda D., and Rosenberg, Kenneth, V. 2019. "Overlooked sexual segregation of habitats exposes female migratory landbirds to threats." Biological Conservation, 240 UNSP 108266–UNSP 108266. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2019.108266. 2019
- Bennett, Ruth E., Leuenberger, Wendy, Bosarreyes Leja, Bianca B., Sagone Cáceres, Alejandro, Johnson, Kirsten, and Larkin, Jeffery. 2018. "Conservation of Neotropical migratory birds in tropical hardwood and oil palm plantations." PLOS ONE, 13, (12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0210293. 2018
- Hernandez-Aguilera, J., Gómez, Miguel I., Rodewald, Amanda D., Rueda, Ximena, Anunu, Colleen, Bennett, Ruth E., and van Es, Harold M. 2018. "Quality as a Driver of Sustainable Agricultural Value Chains: The Case of the Relationship Coffee Model: Quality as a Driver of Sustainable Agricultural Value Chains: The Case of the Relationship Coffee Model." Business Strategy and the Environment, 27, (2) 179–198. https://doi.org/10.1002/bse.2009. 2018
- Bennett, Ruth E., Barker Swarthout, Sara, Bolsinger, Jeffrey S., Rodewald, Amanda D., Rosenberg, Kenneth V., and Rohrbaugh, Ronald W. 2017. "Extreme genetic similarity does not predict non‐breeding distribution of two closely related warblers." Journal of Field Ornithology, 88, (2) 156–168. https://doi.org/10.1111/jofo.12195. 2017
- Bennett, Ruth E., Zuniga, Isidro, Bonta, Mark, Anderson, David L., McCann, Sean, and Herrera, Luis. 2014. "First Nest Record of Red-throated Caracara (Ibycter americanus) for Middle America." The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 126, (2) 389–392. https://doi.org/10.1676/13-183.1. 2014
- Rosenberg, Kenneth V., Will, Tom, Buehler, David A., Swarthout, Sara Barker, Thogmartin, Wayne E., Bennett, Ruth E., and Chandler, Richard B. 2016. "Dynamic Distributions and Population Declines of Golden-Winged Warblers." In Golden-Winged Warbler Ecology, Conservation, and Habitat Management. Streby, Henry M., Andersen, David E., and Buehler, David A., editors. 3–28. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press. In Studies in Avian Biology, 49. 2016
- Hobson, Keith A., Van Wilgenburg, Steven L., Roth, Amber M., Bennett, Ruth E., Bayly, Nicholas J., Chavarría-Duriaux, Liliana, Colorado, Gabriel J., Elizondo, Pablo, Rengifo, Carlos G., and Ritterson, Jeffrey D. 2016. "Golden-Winged Warbler Migratory Connectivity Derived from Stable Isotopes." In Golden-Winged Warbler Ecology, Conservation, and Habitat Management. Streby, Henry M., Andersen, David E., and Buehler, David A., editors. 193–203. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press. In Studies in Avian Biology, 49. 2016
- National Zoological Park Academic Department
3001 Connecticut Ave.
Smithsonian - NZP, MRC 5503
Washington, DC 20013-7012
- Smithsonian - NZP, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW, MRC 5503, Washington, DC 20008-2537