Maria Voigt is a conservation biologist with an interest in studying patterns and drivers of environmental change and understanding their implication for species conservation in the tropics. 

During her PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) in Leipzig, Germany, Maria assessed threats to Bornean orangutans and estimated range-wide density distribution and abundance loss in the past and projected how it might change in the future. Based on her findings, she investigated how to improve monitoring and conservation actions for orangutans.

Maria is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate contributing to the Impacts of Forest Loss in Wallacea (IFL Wallacea), a project led by Dr Matthew Struebig and Professor Zoe Davies. This project aims to unravel the ecological consequences of historical land-use change on biodiversity and develop robust policy options to halt forest loss in this understudied group of islands in Indonesia. Maria is currently preparing past and future deforestation projections with an innovative spatio-temporal model, considering ecological and socio-economic drivers of forest loss.

Maria Voigt is a member of the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology

Research interests

Biodiversity is declining rapidly in tropical areas as a direct or indirect consequence of human actions. Maria’s research interests are to understand the effects of biodiversity changes as a consequence of anthropogenic drivers by using modelling techniques and spatial analysis. Based on this understanding, she tries to identify the potential for species conservation, designing better monitoring programs and tools to communicate species’ trends and threats. 

Specifically, Maria is interested in Bornean orangutans as an example of a critically endangered primate. Higher data availability for this charismatic species allows her to estimate population changes across different scales and pioneer novel methods that are otherwise difficult to test in the generally data-deficient tropics. 

Furthermore, Maria is interested in understanding past and future spatio-temporal patterns of forest loss in Wallacea and Borneo, as it underpins the loss of species in these biodiversity hotspots.  


Member of the Society for Conservation Biology.

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