Dr Will Smith



DECRA Track Research Fellow


Faculty of Arts and Education


Alfred Deakin Institute


Melbourne Burwood Campus


I am an anthropologist and human geographer whose research is focused on human-forest interfaces, the social dimensions of agricultural production, and the politics of indigenous knowledge in both Australia and upland Southeast Asia. I am the author of Mountains of Blame: Climate and Culpability in the Philippine Uplands, which examines the impact of forest management and climate change on indigenous livelihoods. My current research is focused on the illegal wildlife trade in the Philippines and conservation-based solutions to zoonotic disease emergence.

Read more on Will's profile

Knowledge areas

Biodiversity conservation; Climate change governance; Forest-based livelihoods; Environmental change; Society and politics in the Philippines


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Tomorrow's Country: Practice-oriented principles for Indigenous cultural fire research in south-east Australia

A Rawluk, T Neale, W Smith, T Doherty, E Ritchie, J Pascoe, M Murray, R Carter, M Bourke, S Falconer, D Nimmo, J Price, M White, P Bates, N Wong, T Nelson, A Atkinson, D Webster

(2023), pp. 1-16, Geographical Research, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Understanding the changing role of global public health in biodiversity conservation

W Smith

(2022), Vol. 51, pp. 485-493, Ambio, Sweden, C1

journal article

Blood, timber and plantations: the violence of enclosing lives and livelihoods in the Philippines

Wolfram Dressler, Will Smith

(2022), pp. 1-31, The Journal of Peasant Studies, Abingdon, Eng., C1

journal article

Climates of control: Violent adaptation and climate change in the Philippines

W Smith

(2022), Vol. 99, pp. 1-10, Political Geography, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1

journal article

Recalibrating burdens of blame: Anti-swidden politics and green governance in the Philippine Uplands

W Dressler, W Smith, C Kull, R Carmenta, J Pulhin

(2021), Vol. 124, pp. 348-359, Geoforum, C1

journal article

Persuasion without policies: The work of reviving Indigenous peoples' fire management in southern Australia

W Smith, T Neale, J Weir

(2021), Vol. 120, pp. 82-92, Geoforum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1

journal article

Hazards, Culture and Indigenous Communities: Final project report

Timothy Neale, Will Smith, Jessica Weir

(2021), [Canberra, A.C.T.], A6

research report/technical paper

Mountains of Blame: Climate and Culpability in the Philippine Uplands

Will Smith

(2020), Seattle, Wa., A1


Forged in flames: indigeneity, forest fire and geographies of blame in the Philippines

W Smith, W Dressler

(2020), Vol. 23, pp. 527-545, Postcolonial Studies, C1

journal article

Beyond Loving Nature: Affective Conservation and Human-pig Violence in the Philippines

W Smith

(2020), Ethnos, C1

journal article

Drought, Food Insecurity, and Cultures of Hunger in the Philippines

Will Smith

(2019), pp. 165-180, Disaster Archipelago: Locating Vulnerability and Resilience in the Philippines, Lanham, MD, B1

book chapter

Governing vulnerability: The biopolitics of conservation and climate in upland Southeast Asia

W Smith, W Dressler

(2019), Vol. 72, pp. 76-86, Political Geography, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1

journal article

An eternal flame: The elemental governance of wildfire's pasts, presents and futures

T Neale, A Zahara, W Smith

(2019), Vol. 25, pp. 115-134, Cultural Studies Review, C1

journal article

Indigenous people in the natural hazards management sector: Examining employment data

T Neale, W Smith, A Leavesley

(2019), Vol. 34, pp. 15-20, Australian Journal of Emergency Management, C1

journal article

Disaster Archipelago Locating Vulnerability and Resilience in the Philippines

Maria Alejandria-Gonzalez, Will Smith

(2019), Lanham, Md., A7

edited book

Weather from incest: The politics of indigenous climate change knowledge on Palawan Island, the Philippines

W Smith

(2018), Vol. 29, pp. 265-281, Australian Journal of Anthropology, C1

journal article

Ungovernable? The vital natures of swidden assemblages in an upland frontier

Wolfram Dressler, Will Smith, Marvin Montefrio

(2018), Vol. 61, pp. 343-354, Journal of Rural Studies, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1

journal article

Rooted in place? The coproduction of knowledge and space in agroforestry assemblages

W Smith, W Dressler

(2017), Vol. 107, pp. 897-914, Annals of the American Association of Geographers, Abingdon, Eng., C1-1

journal article

REDD policy impacts on Indigenous Property Rights Regimes on Palawan Island, the Philippines

Wolfram Dressler, Melanie McDermott, Will Smith, Juan Pulhin

(2012), Vol. 40, pp. 679-691, Human ecology, New York, N.Y., C1

journal article

Funded Projects at Deakin

Australian Competitive Grants

Authoritarian populism and livelihood change in the Philippines

Wolfram Dressler, Dr Will Smith

ARC - Discovery Projects

  • 2024: $6,316
  • 2023: $12,632
  • 2022: $12,632

Other Funding Sources

Hazards, Culture and Indigenous Communities Utilisation project: Principles for Enhanced Collaboration.

A/Prof Timothy Neale, Dr Will Smith

Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC Ltd

  • 2021: $36,463


No completed student supervisions to report