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Duan Biggs

Duan Biggs

Associate Professor and Olajos-Goslow Chair of Environmental Science and Policy, School of Earth and Sustainability, Northern Arizona University

School of Earth and Sustainabiliy
Northern Arizona University
Flagstaff, AZ


  • Associate Professor and Olajos-Goslow Chair of Environmental Science and Policy, School of Earth and Sustainability, Northern Arizona University
  • Adjunct Faculty, Centre for Planetary Health and Food Security, Griifith University
  • Adjunct Faculty, Centre for Sustainability Transitions, Stellenbosch University


Duan is the founder of the Resilient Conservation lab. He was born in Namibia and grew up there and in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. From his days as a University undergraduate in South Africa, he has worked at the interface of science and conservation policy and practice. He focusses on developing partnerships between researchers and NGOs, governments, and the private sector to conduct science that informs the development of conservation actions and policies for the complex challenges of the Anthropocene. He completed his Ph.D. at the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in 2011 on the resilience of coral reef tourism to global change and crises. During his Ph.D. he worked closely with researchers from the Resilience Alliance (, links that he maintains closely to this day. After his Ph.D. Duan worked for Scientific Services of South African National Parks to develop a tourism research program to support decision-making and management of the trade-offs and synergies between conservation and tourism for all the country’s National Parks. Subsequent to this he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with Hugh Possingham at the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions at the University of Queensland. Duan also completed a Masters by research at the University of Cape Town on developing community-based birdwatching tourism for conservation and development. This work was done in partnership with BirdLife South Africa.

Duan has been working actively with policy-makers and international NGOs on the response to Africa’s Illegal Wildlife Trade crisis and contributes to international policy discussions on the illegal wildlife trade and the management of conflict between humans and wildlife through his work with WWF, the Luc Hoffmann Institute, the International Institute for Environment and Development and the IUCN’s Sustainable Use and Livelihood’s Specialist Group and the World Commission for Protected Areas. Duan was awarded an Australian Research Council Early Career Fellowship (DECRA) in 2016 and started working as a Senior Research Fellow at the Environmental Futures Research Institute at Griffith University in August 2016. Since 2018 Duan has been leading an initiative in close collaboration with the Luc Hoffmann Institute, IUCN and WWF in the creation of a first global standard for human wildlife coexistence. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed unprecedented pressure on human communities living near or inside protected areas in Africa, Asia and the America’s. An estimated USD$ 910 billion - USD$ 1 trillion in tourism revenue was lost in 2020 and this loss of revenue has exacerbated the effects of human-wildlife conflict . This new human-wildlife coexistence standard will be an international first, laying the groundwork for a more sustainable and inclusive conflict mitigation framework in these areas. 

Duan has adjunct appointments at the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science, School of Biological Sciences at the University of Queensland, and at both the School of Public Leadership and the Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. Duan is an enthusiastic naturalist and fervent birdwatcher. He is an associate of Birding Ecotours and has developed and led birding tours and expeditions in countries around the world.

Journal Articles


Moore, M., O. Tjornbo, E. Enfors, C. Knapp, J. E. Hodbod, J. Baggio, A. Norstrom, P. Olsson and D. Biggs. 2014. Studying the complexity of change: toward an analytical framework for understanding deliberate social-ecological transformations. Ecology and Society 19(4):54. DOI:


Biggs, R., M. Schluter, D. Biggs, E. L. Bohensky, S. BurnSilver, G. Cundill, V. Dakos, T. M. Daw, L. S. Evans, K. Kotschy, A. M. Leitch, C. Meek, A. Quinlan, C. Raudsepp-Heame, M. D. Robards, M. L. Schoon, L. Schultz and P. C. West. 2012. Toward principles for enhancing the resilience of ecosystem services. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 37:421-448. DOI: 10.1146/annurev-environ-051211-123836. (link )


Biggs, D., R. Biggs, V. Dakos, R. J. Scholes and M. L. Schoon. 2011. Are we entering an era of concatenated global crises?. Ecology and Society 16(2):Art. 27. (link )

Book Chapters


Bohensky, E. L., L. S. Evans, J. M. Anderies, D. Biggs and C. Fabricius. 2015. Principle 4: Foster complex adaptive systems thinking. Pp. 142-173 In: Biggs, R., M. Schluter and M. L. Schoon eds., Principles for Building Resilience: Sustaining Ecosystem Services in Social-Ecological Systems. Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 9781107082656.