Keynote speakers 15th SWS Europe chapter meeting

Professor Max Finlayson

Professor Max Finlayson

President of SWS, Director of the Institute for Land, Water & Society at Charles Sturt University in Albury, Australia (till November 2019).

Keynote subject:
To be confirmed

About Prof. Max Finlayson
Max Finlayson is an internationally renowned wetland ecologist with extensive experience in Australia and overseas. He has participated in global assessments such as those conducted by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, and the Global Environment Outlook. Since the early 1990s he has been a technical advisor to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and has written extensively on wetland ecology and management. His research interests include wetland and river management, planning and policies; community involvement in wetland and river management; integration of social, economic and ecologic research; trade-offs among wetland users and uses; water availability and climate change; and managing wetland ecosystem services. Currently, he is president of SWS.

Dr. (Ru)dolf de Groot

Dolf de Groot

Associate Professor in Integrated Ecosystem Assessment & Management at Wageningen University, the Netherlands.

Keynote subject:
Ecosystem services of wetlands

About Dr. Dolf de Groot
Dolf de Groot is a Landscape Ecologist by training and has worked for more than 35 years on the use of ecosystem services as a tool for sustainable environmental planning, management and decision making. He was involved as Coordinating Lead author in the UN-supported Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2001-2005) and in the global study on “The Economics of Ecosystems & Biodiversity” (TEEB 2008-2010).  Next to his scientific work he is passionate about the practical applications of the ecosystem services concept. He is among others Special Advisor on Ecosystem Services and Nature Based Solutions of the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM), member of the Steering Committee of the UNEP International Resource Panel and Chair of the Ecosystem Services Partnership (, a worldwide network to enhance the science and practical application of ecosystem services assessment.

Jane Madgwick

Jane Madgwick

Chief Executive Officer, Wetlands International, The Netherlands

Keynote subject:
To be confirmed

About Jane Madgwick
Jane Madgwick is a passionate environmentalist who has been very actively engaged in the field of wetlands and water policy for the last 30 years. As CEO of Wetlands International since 2004, she leads a global network of offices operating in over 100 countries. Jane is prominent in building partnerships and in driving forward science-based initiatives and dialogues that can enable ecosystem-based solutions to today’s global environment and development challenges. Previously Jane established and led WWF International's Freshwater Programme for Europe, the Middle East and North Africa and was Regional Director for WWF in Western Australia. She has led a number of ecological research and multiple use conservation programmes and was Director of Conservation for the Broads National Park in the UK throughout the 1990’s. Her technical expertise and former publications include several on the ecological restoration of wetlands.  

Dr. Tobias Salathé

Tobias Salathé

RAMSAR secretariat, senior advisor for Europe.

Keynote subject:
Wetlands, policy and practice

About Dr. Tobias Salathé
Tobias Salathé received his MSc and PhD degrees from Basel University and has worked with ICBP (now BirdLife International) and DG XI of the European Commission, among other posts, and most recently with the Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat in Arles, France. He speaks and writes all of the Ramsar languages and German as well, and is the author of a large number and variety of research reports and other publications. He joined the Secretariat in 1999.

Geoff Sweaney

Geoff Sweaney

Director of Wetland Engineering and chairman of the Constructed Wetland Association (CWA).

Keynote subject:
Constructed Wetlands (combined presentation with Matthew Simpson)

About Geoff Sweaney
Geoff Sweaney has 24 years of varied professional experience in pollution mitigation and environmental engineering, on projects in the public and private sector, and more recently for NGOs. This includes projects in water engineering, land remediation, engineering strategy and technical research. Geoff has a technical specialism in “Natural Treatment Systems”, the science of creating wetland ecosystems to improve the quality of water. He is the serving chairman of the Constructed Wetland Association (CWA).

Dr. Matthew Simpson

Matthew Simpson

35percent Ltd, Director and president of SWS Europe Chapter.

Keynote subject:
Constructed Wetlands (combined presentation with Geoff Sweaney)

About Dr. Matthew Simpson
Matt Simpson has over 20 years’ experience in delivering nature conservation, research, assessment and management related projects and is an accredited Professional Wetland Scientist. He is currently the President of the Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS) Europe Chapter, President of the SWS Professional Certification Program and is a longstanding member of the Constructed Wetland Association Committee. He also sits on the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands' Scientific and Technical Review Panel. Matthew has managed projects in Europe, Asia, South East Asia, Africa, South America and North America. His experience includes wetland monitoring and management, wetland biodiversity and ecosystem service identification, design of constructed wetland treatment and sustainable drainage systems.

Professor Leon Lamers

Leon Lamers

Head of Aquatic Ecology & Environmental Biology group at Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Keynote subject:
Wetland Restoration

About Prof. Leon Lamers
Leon Lamers is a wetland ecologist. He studied at Radboud University Nijmegen (1992), and received his PhD in 2001 on the biogeochemical problems in peatlands. His research interests include Biogeochemistry and Ecology of Wetlands (freshwater, estuarine, marine) at all spatial scales, Plant-Microorganism Symbioses, Water and Nature Management, Restoration Ecology.