Portrait of Professor Douglas MacMillan

Professor Douglas MacMillan

Professor of Conservation and Applied Resource Economics
Chief Examiner
Academic Head for Human Ecology


Professor Douglas MacMillan focuses on the economics of conservation and sustainable land use and collaborates with committed organisations and individuals to produce excellent, high-impact original research. He has published over 100 refereed articles in top ranking journals in Geography, Economics and Conservation Science.

Professor MacMillan's research interests are, in broad terms, related to biodiversity and land-use economics, including the economic valuation of ecosystem services, incentive systems for ecosystem conservation, human–wildlife conflict and conservation/ land-use planning and policy.

Douglas is passionate about learning and teaching and finds it very rewarding to teach students from a wide variety of academic backgrounds and interests. He enjoys teaching economics and explaining its relevance to conserving biodiversity and the planet. Professor MacMillan teaches on a wide range of modules on undergraduate and postgraduate progammes and offers a core module concerning Environmental Sustainability on the School’s new undergraduate BSc programme in Human Geography.

Douglas also travels overseas to deliver short courses in biodiversity economics which are specifically designed for students in those countries with no previous knowledge of economics.

Professor MacMillan believes in interdisciplinarity. The complex challenges of biodiversity conservation demand an interdisciplinary approach and he very much enjoys working with academics from other disciplines.

Professor Douglas MacMillan is a member of the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology

Research interests

Professor Douglas MacMillan’s research interests focus on understanding the economics of biodiversity conservation and land-use decision-making.He is especially excited by the notion that biodiversity conservation will be able to pay for itself through the creation of new markets and/or complementary livelihood strategies.

His expertise lies in valuing ecosystem services and biodiversity, human–wildlife conflict studies, spatial conservation planning, illegal wildlife trade and land reform.

As an economist, he is especially focused on quantitative analysis and has expertise in a range of techniques including cost-benefit analysis, contingent valuation, choice experiments, linear programming and multivariate statistics. However, in some situations, such as poaching and illegal logging, reliable economic data is difficult to obtain; hence he also deploys more qualitative approaches to enrich our understanding of these clandestine economic processes.



  • SE306: Animals, People and Plants: An Introduction to Ethnobiology
  • DI304: Environmental Sustainability – an Introduction
  • DI522: Research Project


  • DI878: Social Science Perspectives on Conservation (2 weeks)
  • DI885: Ecotourism and Rural Development Field Course
  • DI888: Economics of Biodiversity Conservation

Professor MacMillan also teaches intensive short courses in Biodiversity Economics that have been specially designed for professionals and PGT students at overseas institutions.


Current students

  • Robin Lines: Landscape connectivity in the Kavango-Zambezi TFCA


  • Nicola Abram: Landscape planning for biodiversity conservation in the Kinabatangan catchment area in Sabah, Borneo.
  • Valeria Boron: Conservation of medium-large mammals across agroecosystems in the neotropics
  • Dan Challender: Conservation of pangolins in Southeast Asia (in association with TRAFFIC). Funded by ESRC - NERC.
  • Abishek Harihar: Landscape planning for tigers in northwest India (in association with the Wildlife Institute of India).
  • Chloe Inskip: Human–tiger conflict in Sunderbans (in association with Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh). Funded by ESRC - NERC.
  • Enrico de Minin: Conservation planning in the Maputaland-Pondland-Albany Biodiversity Hotspot (in association with the Ezemvelo KwaZulu Natal Wildlife Department).
  • Kirsty Leitch: The nature of farming in Scotland's crofting countries: an exploration of farming and crofting in high nature value areas.
  • C. Preide: Local perceptions of historical landscapes in the Scottish Highlands (in association with National Trust for Scotland). Funded by ESRC.
  • Niki Rust: Economic Incentives for non-lethal management of human–carnivore conflict (in association with the Cheetah Conservation Fund). Funded by ESRC.
  • Alicia Said: Crossroads at sea: the artisanal fisheries in Malta since EU accession.
  • Samia Saif: Tiger poaching in the Sunderbans (in association with the Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh).
  • Rehema Shoo: Using choice experiments to value alternative management options for Lake Natron National Park in Tanzania. Funded by Commonwealth Scholarship.
  • Sarah Tetley: Sourcing sustainable fishing in the UK (joint supervision with the University of Kent Business School)
  • Diogo Verrisimo: Design and implementation of flagship species and programmes.


Professor MacMillan has participated in various capacities and roles as adviser and academic reviewer to national and regional government, NGOs and research councils such as the ESRC. Recent highlights include being invited to review the Swedish Government's Biodiversity Research programme alongside other academics from around the world, and being invited to give a plenary address to the Education Panel of the Guiyang Environmental Forum.

He is on the Editorial Board of Conservation Letters.


Showing 50 of 96 total publications in the Kent Academic Repository. View all publications.


  • Sardeshpande, M. and MacMillan, D. (2019). Sea turtles support sustainable livelihoods at Ostional, Costa Rica. Oryx [Online] 53:81-91. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605317001855​.
    Ostional in Costa Rica is the second largest nesting site of the olive ridley sea turtle Lepidochelys olivacea, which is categorized as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. In Ostional the local community helps maintain the nesting site and collects olive ridley eggs for consumption and trade within Costa Rica. Since its inception in 1987 the egg harvesting project has integrated sea turtle conservation with community development. We assessed the current status of this project in terms of community awareness, dependency, involvement and perceptions, using a household survey and semi-structured interviews with key informants. We also compared some of our findings with those of previous studies at the site, finding that the project has fewer dependents, primary livelihood activities have shifted towards tourism and hospitality, and respondents are more aware about environmental conservation and stewardship. We map outcomes of the project with the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework, and suggest that further capacity building for research and tourism could contribute towards sustaining the turtle population, local livelihoods, and the community-based conservation institution.
  • Said, A., MacMillan, D. and Campbell, B. (2018). Crossroads at sea: Escalating conflict in a marine protected area in Malta. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science [Online] 208:52-60. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2018.04.019.
    This article illustrates how the creation of a Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Malta is failing to adequately include stakeholders in the configuration of conservation targets and measures, leaving local fishers increasingly disempowered. Through a series of interviews and long-term participatory observation, it has been found that the leaders who represent local fishers are failing to communicate the MPA process to their community. Instead, they are using their position in the MPA negotiations to subjugate and silence the fishing community in general and trammel netters in particular. Moreover, in their support for the MPA, these community leaders reproduce the state's conservation discourse to pressure authorities to ban trammel net fishing, with whom they tend to be in competition. It is concluded that the state's narrow focus on ecology, the tight deadlines set out in the EU Habitats Directive, and the misrepresentation of the fishers, has characterised the process of creating this MPA. If artisanal livelihoods are not protected by conservation policies, fishers may regard conservation as a threat to their way of life, and resist policy measures. This compromises conversation efforts and can make the enforcement of the MPAs more expensive. This paper recommends a revision of the community consultation policies of the MPA to allow broader and more representative participation from the local community by encouraging engagement throughout the process as part of a consensual approach to effective marine conservation.
  • Said, A., Tzanopoulos, J. and MacMillan, D. (2018). The Contested Commons: The Failure of EU Fisheries Policy and Governance in the Mediterranean and the Crisis Enveloping the Small-Scale Fisheries of Malta. Frontiers in Marine Science [Online] 5. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2018.00300.
    This paper highlights how multi-scalar interstitial policy failings of the EU fisheries
    policy can directly trigger policy gaps in fisheries management at the expense of
    artisanal communities, leading to further expansion opportunities for industrial fishing
    and triggering instability and marginalization of traditional fishing communities. In order
    to contextualize and demonstrate this complexity, we explore a detailed scenario of the
    Maltese waters to show how the development of a national policy portfolio post-EU
    accession has destabilized long-existing functional fishing governance mechanisms
    and now pose a direct challenge to the sustainable management of the marine
    socio-ecological system. Using a mixed-method approach to investigate the partially
    obscured social, economic and political dynamics which drive marine policy, we
    demonstrate how the coastal fisheries have become subject to multiple-use competition
    arising primarily from a burgeoning recreational fishing sector that has benefited from
    “access-enabling policies,” and is, to a great extent uninhibited by fish conservation
    regulations. Our findings demonstrate how a deeper understanding of the sociopolitical
    ramifications of policy processes is necessary to improve the governance and
    management of contested and congested open-access fisheries.
  • Veríssimo, D. et al. (2018). Why do people donate to conservation? Insights from a ‘real world’ campaign. PLOS ONE [Online] 13:e0191888. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0191888.
    Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) play a key role in biodiversity conservation. The majority of these organisations rely on public donations to fund their activities, and therefore fundraising success is a determinant of conservation outcomes. In spite of this integral relationship, the key principals for fundraising success in conservation are still guided by expert opinion and anecdotal evidence, with very few quantitative studies in the literature. Here we assessed the behaviour of monetary donors across twenty-five different species-focused conservation campaigns organised by an NGO conservation and environmental society. The Australian Geographic Society (AGS) carried out fundraising campaigns over a five and half year period using an identical methodology in thirty-four of its country-wide network of outlet shops. AGS owns and operates these shops that sell toys and games related to science and nature. We tested how the following factors influenced monetary donations from members of the public:1) campaign duration, 2) appeal and familiarity of species, 3) species geographic distribution relative to the fundraising location, 4) level of income and education of potential donors, 5) age and gender profile of potential donors. Contrary to past research, we found most of these factors did not significantly influence the amount of donations made to each campaign by members of the public. Larger animals did elicit a significantly higher amount donated per transaction than smaller animals, as did shops located in poorer neighbourhoods. Our study findings contrast with past research that has focused largely on hypothetical donations data collected via surveys, and demonstrates the complexity and case-specific nature of relationships between donor characteristics and spending patterns. The study highlights the value of assessing real-world fundraising campaigns, and illustrates how collaboration between academia and NGOs could be used to better tailor fundraising campaigns to maximise donations from individual citizens.
  • Harihar, A., Ghosh-Harihar, M. and MacMillan, D. (2018). Losing time for the tiger Panthera tigris: delayed action puts a globally threatened species at risk of local extinction. Oryx [Online] 52. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605317001156.
    Meeting global and regional environmental targets is challenging, given the multiplicity of stakeholders and their diverse and often competing policy agendas and objectives. Relatively few studies have sought to systematically analyse the progress, or lack thereof, of institutionally complex and diffuse projects. Here we analyse one such project, which aims to protect and restore a critical landscape corridor for tigers Panthera tigris in north-western India, using a temporal–analytic framework that integrates ecological information on species population status and spatial connectivity modelling with a systematic examination of the decision-making process. We find that even with adequate ecological knowledge the tiger population is on the verge of local extinction because of weak institutional support, poor adaptive planning and ineffective leadership in a complex political arena, which has led to delays in conservation action. From the outset the conservation agencies and NGOs that were the primary drivers of the project lacked awareness of the political idiosyncrasies of coordinating the actions of disparate agencies within the decision-making process. To secure better future environmental outcomes we recommend the adoption of an improved project appraisal methodology that explicitly encompasses an evaluation of organizational incentives, to determine political buy-in, including alignment with organizational objectives and funding availability.
  • Lines, R., Tzanopoulos, J. and MacMillan, D. (2018). Status of terrestrial mammals at the Kafue-Zambezi Interface: Implications for transboundary connectivity. Oryx [Online]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605317001594.
    The Kavango–Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area Programme promotes landscape-level connectivity between clusters of wildlife management areas in five neighbouring countries. However, declining regional biodiversity can undermine efforts to maintain, expand and link wildlife populations. Narratives promoting species connectivity should thus be founded on studies of system and state changes in key resources. By integrating and augmenting multiple data sources throughout eight wildlife management areas, covering 1.7 million ha, we report changes during 1978–2015 in the occurrence and distribution of 31 mammal species throughout a landscape linking the Greater Kafue System to adjacent wildlife management areas in Namibia and Botswana. Results indicate species diversity is largely unchanged in Kafue National Park and Mulobezi and Sichifulo Game Management Areas. However, 100% of large carnivore and 64% of prey diversity have been lost in the Simalaha areas, and there is no evidence of migrational behaviour or species recolonization from adjacent wildlife areas. Although temporal sampling scales influence the definition of species occupancy and distribution, and data cannot elucidate population size or trends, our findings indicate an emerging connectivity bottleneck within Simalaha. Evidence suggests that at current disturbance levels the Greater Kafue System, Zambia's majority component in the Kavango–Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, is becoming increasingly isolated at the trophic scale of large mammals. Further investigations of the site-specific, interacting drivers influencing wildlife distribution and occurrence are required to inform appropriate conservation interventions for wildlife recovery in key areas identified to promote transboundary connectivity in the Kavango–Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area.
  • Said, A. et al. (2017). Fishing in a congested sea: What do marine protected areas imply for the future of the Maltese artisanal fleet? Applied Geography [Online] 87:245-255. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apgeog.2017.08.013.
    Inshore artisanal fishing in Malta is under intense spatial competition as the coastal zone is fragmented by multiple uses and designations including maritime transport, infrastructure, industrial fisheries, aquaculture, tourism and recreation. This research, adopting a grounded visualization methodology, explains how the artisanal fishing sector has undergone and been affected by ‘spatial squeezing’. Our results show that artisanal fishermen have been forced to give up fishing grounds or co-exist with other uses to the point where the ability to fish is becoming increasingly challenging. These difficulties might escalate with the advent of the marine protected areas (MPAs) which encompass nearly half of the inshore fishing zones. Since there does not seem to be effective MPA consultation mechanisms that elicit the real social, cultural and economic value of artisanal fishing grounds, fishermen feel threatened, alienated and disempowered. This study urges for a more holistic approach to spatial marine planning and accentuates the need of realizing the dependency of the artisanal sector on the inshore zones in the implementation of conservation measures, such that the prolonged existence of the coastal fishing communities is not jeopardized.
  • Hanley, N. et al. (2017). The Allure of the Illegal: Choice Modeling of Rhino Horn Demand in Vietnam. Conservation Letters [Online]. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/conl.12417.
    Using choice modeling, we explore willingness to pay for rhino horn among existing and potential future consumers in Vietnam. We find that wild-sourced horn, harvested humanely from the least rare species, is the most highly valued product. Furthermore, consumers are willing to pay less for rhino horn products under a scenario where international trade is legalized compared to the current situation of illegal trade. We discuss the potential implications of our findings on rhino poaching and international trade policy.
  • Veríssimo, D. et al. (2017). Increased conservation marketing effort has major fundraising benefits for even the least popular species. Biological Conservation [Online] 211:95-101. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2017.04.018.
    Conservationists often complain that their study species are ignored by donors. However, marketing theory could help understand and increase the profile and fundraising potential of these neglected species. We used linear regression with multimodel inference to analyse data on online behaviour from the websites of the World Wildlife Fund-US (WWF-US) and the Zoological Society of London's EDGE of Existence programme (EDGE), in order to understand how species traits and marketing campaign characteristics influenced flagship-based fundraising efforts. Our analysis accounted for species traits through variables such as appeal and familiarity, and marketing campaign characteristics through measuring the order in which the species were presented and the amount of information provided. We found that species traits were key for the WWF-US website, with appealing and threatened non-mammal species the most popular with donors. This was probably because WWF-US used well-known flagship species and so marketing had little impact. The EDGE website used a wider variety of species and in this case both species traits and the marketing campaign characteristics were important, so that appealing species and well-promoted species did best. We then predicted outcomes for a hypothetical EDGE fundraising campaign with varying degrees of marketing effort. We showed that additional marketing can have a large impact on donor behaviour, potentially increasing the interest of potential donors towards unappealing species by up to 26 times. This increase would more than equal the amount raised by campaigns using appealing species without additional promotion. Our results show marketing can have a large impact on donor behaviour and suggest there is scope for successful marketing campaigns based on a much wider range of species.
  • Inskip, C. et al. (2016). Toward Human-Carnivore Coexistence: Understanding Tolerance for Tigers in Bangladesh. PloS one [Online] 11:1-20. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0145913.
    Fostering local community tolerance for endangered carnivores, such as tigers (Panthera tigris), is a core component of many conservation strategies. Identification of antecedents of tolerance will facilitate the development of effective tolerance-building conservation action and secure local community support for, and involvement in, conservation initiatives. We use a stated preference approach for measuring tolerance, based on the ‘Wildlife Stakeholder Acceptance Capacity’ concept, to explore villagers’ tolerance levels for tigers in the Bangladesh Sundarbans, an area where, at the time of the research, human-tiger conflict was severe. We apply structural equation modeling to test an a priori defined theoretical model of tolerance and identify the experiential and psychological basis of tolerance in this community. Our results indicate that beliefs about tigers and about the perceived current tiger population trend are predictors of tolerance for tigers. Positive beliefs about tigers and a belief that the tiger population is not currently increasing are both associated with greater stated tolerance for the species. Contrary to commonly-held notions, negative experiences with tigers do not directly affect tolerance levels; instead, their effect is mediated by villagers’ beliefs about tigers and risk perceptions concerning human-tiger conflict incidents. These findings highlight a need to explore and understand the socio-psychological factors that encourage tolerance towards endangered species. Our research also demonstrates the applicability of this approach to tolerance research to a wide range of socio-economic and cultural contexts and reveals its capacity to enhance carnivore conservation efforts worldwide.
  • Said, A., MacMillan, D. and Tzanopoulos, J. (2016). Bluefin tuna fishery policy in Malta: The plight of artisanal fishermen caught in the capitalist net. Marine Policy [Online] 73:27-34. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2016.07.025.
    The bluefin tuna fishery has undergone a major shift in Malta, moving from an open access artisanal nature to a privatized and industrialized activity dominated by the purse seining fleet and the BFT ranching industry.The shift has been exacerbated by the national implementation of anindividual transferable quota system, which has enabled the concertation of quotas into fewer hands.The main objective of this article is to understand how privatization hasevolved within the sector and the way the Maltese artisanal fishermen are experiencing the shift. This study takes an exploratory mixed-method
    approach to quantitatively and qualitatively understand how policy underpinnings interplay with the sustainability dimension of the small-scale fishing sector. Results show that the transition of the bluefin tuna fishery from artisanal to industrial has generated a legitimacy crisis over fishing rights, decreased profitability amongst most of the artisanal fleet, and led to a series of socio-ecological impacts on the artisanal fisheries system at large.It is concluded that the neo-liberal trajectories of industrialization have directly undermined the continued sustainability of artisanal fishing communities.
  • Boron, V. et al. (2016). Achieving sustainable development in rural areas in Colombia: Future scenarios for biodiversity conservation under land use change. Land Use Policy [Online] 59:27-37. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2016.08.017.
    Agricultural expansion is a complex land use change phenomenon with deep environmental and socio-economic consequences, especially across tropical countries where most of this expansion is occurring. Here we use scenario and network analysis combined with sustainability assessment to understand the drivers of landscape change and their effects on sustainable development in Colombia’s rural areas, using the Central Magdalena region as a case study, and ultimately informing strategies to reconcile agricultural expansion with biodiversity conservation and rural development. Using this approach we investigated three environmental and agricultural policy scenarios: the Business as Usual scenario, enforcing a stronger regulatory framework, and adopting incentives. Our analysis show that the Business as Usual scenario is not supported by stakeholders and negatively affects most sustainability objectives with the predominant agricultural sectors in the region (cattle ranching and oil palm) not improving social inequality, and threatening biodiversity, natural resources, and food security. Both alternative scenarios improve overall sustainability, including biodiversity. Therefore to reconcile agricultural expansion, biodiversity and sustainable development, it is important to adopt a stronger regulatory and enforcement framework at different administrative levels, as well as incentive schemes focusing on small holders. Our study also shows that history cannot be ignored when thinking about the future and sustainability especially in areas with legacies of strong inequalities caused by armed conflict. Finally, we suggest that combining scenario analysis, network analysis, and sustainability assessment is a useful methodology for studying land use changes holistically, exploring complex systems at different scales, and informing locally-relevant strategies and recommendations, ultimately enabling science to be proactive.
  • Rust, N. et al. (2016). Why Has Human–Carnivore Conflict Not Been Resolved in Namibia? Society & Natural Resources [Online] 29:1079-1094. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08941920.2016.1150544.
    Human–wildlife conflict has historically been portrayed as a management problem where solutions lie in technical changes or financial incentives. However, recent research shows many conflicts stem from social, economic, and political drivers. We undertook qualitative data collection on livestock farms to determine whether relationships between farmers and their workers affected frequency of reported livestock depredation in Namibia. We found that the conflict was affected by social and economic inequalities embedded in the previous apartheid regime. Macro- and microlevel socioeconomic problems created an environment where livestock depredation was exacerbated by unmotivated farm workers. Poor treatment of workers by farmers resulted in vengeful behaviors, such as livestock theft and wildlife poaching. Successfully addressing this situation therefore requires recognition and understanding of its complexity, rather than reducing it to its most simplistic parts
  • Davis, S. et al. (2016). Identifying Where REDD+ Financially Out Competes Oil Palm in Floodplain Landscapes Using a Fine-Scale Approach. PLoS ONE [Online]:1-23. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0156481.
    Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) aims to avoid forest conversion to alternative land-uses through financial incentives. Oil-palm has high opportunity costs, which according to current literature questions the financial competitiveness of REDD+ in tropical lowlands. To understand this more, we undertook regional finescale and coarse-scale analyses (through carbon mapping and economic modelling) to assess the financial viability of REDD+ in safeguarding unprotected forest (30,173 ha) in the Lower Kinabatangan floodplain in Malaysian Borneo. Results estimate 4.7 million metric tons of carbon (MgC) in unprotected forest, with 64% allocated for oil-palm cultivations. Through fine-scale mapping and carbon accounting, we demonstrated that REDD+ can outcompete oil-palm in regions with low suitability, with low carbon prices and low carbon stock. In areas with medium oil-palm suitability, REDD+ could outcompete oil palm in areas
    with: very high carbon and lower carbon price; medium carbon price and average carbon stock; or, low carbon stock and high carbon price. Areas with high oil palm suitability, REDD + could only outcompete with higher carbon price and higher carbon stock. In the coarse-scale model, oil-palm outcompeted REDD+ in all cases. For the fine-scale models at the landscape level, low carbon offset prices (US $3 MgCO2e) would enable REDD+ to outcompete oil-palm in 55% of the unprotected forests requiring US $27 million to secure these areas for 25 years. Higher carbon offset price (US $30 MgCO2e) would increase the competitiveness of REDD+ within the landscape but would still only capture between 69%-74% of the unprotected forest, requiring US $380–416 million in carbon financing. REDD+ has been identified as a strategy to mitigate climate change by many countries (including Malaysia). Although REDD+ in certain scenarios cannot outcompete oil palm, this research contributes to the global REDD+ debate by: highlighting REDD+ competitiveness in tropical floodplain landscapes; and, providing a robust approach for identifying and targeting limited REDD+ funds.
  • Shairp, R. et al. (2016). Understanding Urban Demand for Wild Meat in Vietnam: Implications for Conservation Actions. PloS One [Online] 11:1-14. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0134787.
    Vietnam is a significant consumer of wildlife, particularly wild meat, in urban restaurant settings. To meet this demand, poaching of wildlife is widespread, threatening regional and international biodiversity. Previous interventions to tackle illegal and potentially unsustainable consumption of wild meat in Vietnam have generally focused on limiting supply. While critical, they have been impeded by a lack of resources, the presence of increasingly organised criminal networks and corruption. Attention is, therefore, turning to the consumer, but a paucity of research investigating consumer demand for wild meat will impede the creation of effective consumer-centred interventions. Here we used a mixed-methods research approach comprising a hypothetical choice modelling survey and qualitative interviews to explore the drivers of wild meat consumption and consumer preferences among residents of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Our findings indicate that demand for wild meat is heterogeneous and highly context specific. Wild-sourced, rare, and expensive wild meat-types are eaten by those situated towards the top of the societal hierarchy to convey wealth and status and are commonly consumed in lucrative business contexts. Cheaper, legal and farmed substitutes for wild-sourced meats are also consumed, but typically in more casual consumption or social drinking settings. We explore the implications of our results for current conservation interventions in Vietnam that attempt to tackle illegal and potentially unsustainable trade in and consumption of wild meat and detail how our research informs future consumer-centric conservation actions.
  • MacMillan, D., Harihar, A. and Veríssimo, D. (2015). Beyond compensation: Integrating local communities’ livelihood choices in large carnivore conservation. Global Environmental Change [Online] 33:122-130. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2015.05.004.
    Conserving biodiversity in human-dominated regions of the world is complex, particularly in case of large carnivores where perceived conflicts exist with economic development, expanding human populations and livelihoods. Using a systematic ‘bottom-up’ consultative framework, based on a choice modelling approach that accounts for heterogeneity in the population, we explore alternative strategies that meet conservation and human development goals. Focusing on the Guijars, a pastoralist community in northern India our research identifies the community’s preferred government support measures to encourage coexistence with tigers. We find that direct losses from predation are secondary concerns compared to development measures despite these losses being comparable to other tiger landscapes. Further we found that almost all sampled households (283/292) preferred resettlement over any form of coexistence, with positive preferences for larger land-sizes, the immediate and permanent transfer of property rights, a government-built house and the potential to generate a living from agro-pastoralism.
    As resettlement would avoid conflict with tigers and lead to habitat and prey recovery, it follows that tiger conservation and human development goals could be best realized by securing vast areas of inviolate tiger habitat through community resettlement to acceptable locations away from tiger habitat. Although Gujjars in our case study prefer resettlement as the way forward, we highlight the need for a responsive policy and institutional framework that can accommodate local needs and ensure there are adequate opportunities for the creation of sustainable livelihoods within tiger habitats. More generally, we show how different outcomes for tigers and humans can be explored empirically to generate better outcomes for carnivores and people at a landscape scale.
  • Saif, S. et al. (2015). Local Usage of Tiger Parts and Its Role in Tiger Killing in the Bangladesh Sundarbans. Human Dimensions of Wildlife: An Interdisciplinary Journal [Online]:1-16. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10871209.2015.1107786.
    This article explored the local medicinal and traditional values of tiger parts and associated beliefs, and its link to the commercial trade in the Bangladesh Sundarbans. Using semi-structured qualitative interviews with 139 respondents, we found that the local use of, and belief in, the medicinal values of tiger parts is widespread and that virtually all parts of the tiger are used. Some of the local uses of tiger parts were unique in both the way and the purpose of use. For example, the soil of tiger pugmark was consumed by the women as a means of contraception. We established that local usage may be a significant threat to the tiger population of south Asia as it motivates stray tiger killing for collecting tiger parts for both local use and commercial demand, and provides the opportunities for poachers and the commercial trade to flourish.
  • MacMillan, D. (2015). Understanding markets to conserve trade-threatened species in CITES. Biological Conservation [Online] 187:249-259. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2015.04.015.
    International trade in wildlife is a major threat to biodiversity conservation. CITES, the Convention on
    International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, is the primary mechanism for maintaining
    sustainability in international wildlife trade. Although a comparatively well-designed legal instrument, CITES has been criticised because of its emphasis on regulatory measures and disregard for the economic reality of wildlife trade. Through means of a case study on the trade in pangolins (Pholidota: Manidae) in Asia, we evaluate the CITES approach to controlling trade and demonstrate significant areas to be addressed. These arise because CITES fails to accurately monitor supply, particularly where trade is illegal, it fails to consider the impact of trade controls in realistic terms, and it does little to consider the complex nature of demand or contend with changing market dynamics. To more effectively manage trade we argue that reforms are needed within CITES. Specifically, we highlight improved monitoring of supply (by accounting for illegal and legal trade) and of demand and prices for wildlife (through national wildlife consumption surveys). This information would generate a more holistic understanding of wildlife trade and, if integrated with the Convention’s existing trade database, would allow a more realistic evaluation of the performance of trade controls, and could inform decision-making and the implementation of interventions which go beyond regulation and address demand directly. In a world
    of rapid economic and social change understanding markets and addressing demand as well as supply is essential to conserving the world’s trade threatened species.
  • MacMillan, D., Harrop, S. and Challender, D. (2015). Towards informed and multi-faceted wildlife trade interventions. Global Ecology and Conservation [Online] 3:129-148. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2014.11.010.
    International trade in wildlife is a key threat to biodiversity conservation. CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, seeks to ensure international wildlife trade is sustainable, relying on trade bans and controls. However, there has been little comprehensive review of its effectiveness and here we review approaches taken to regulate wildlife trade in CITES. Although assessing its effectiveness is problematic, we assert that CITES boasts few measurable conservation successes. We attribute this to: non-compliance, an over reliance on regulation, lack of knowledge and monitoring of listed species, ignorance of market forces, and influence among CITES actors. To more effectively manage trade we argue that interventions should go beyond regulation and should be multi-faceted, reflecting the complexity of wildlife trade. To inform these interventions we assert an intensive research effort is needed around six key areas: (1) factors undermining wildlife trade governance at the national level, (2) determining sustainable harvest rates for, and adaptive management of CITES species, (3) gaining the buy-in of local communities in implementing CITES, (4) supply and demand based market interventions,(5) means of quantifying illicit trade, and (6) political processes and influence within CITES.
  • Abram, N. et al. (2014). Synergies for Improving Oil Palm Production and Forest Conservation in Floodplain Landscapes. PLoS ONE [Online] 9:e95388. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0095388.
    Lowland tropical forests are increasingly threatened with conversion to oil palm as global demand and high profit drives crop expansion throughout the world’s tropical regions. Yet, landscapes are not homogeneous and regional constraints dictate land suitability for this crop. We conducted a regional study to investigate spatial and economic components of forest conversion to oil palm within a tropical floodplain in the Lower Kinabatangan, Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. The Kinabatangan ecosystem harbours significant biodiversity with globally threatened species but has suffered forest loss and fragmentation. We mapped the oil palm and forested landscapes (using object-based-image analysis, classification and regression tree analysis and on-screen digitising of high-resolution imagery) and undertook economic modelling. Within the study region (520,269 ha), 250,617 ha is cultivated with oil palm with 77% having high Net-Present-Value (NPV) estimates ($413/ha−yr–$637/ha−yr); but 20.5% is under-producing. In fact 6.3% (15,810 ha) of oil palm is commercially redundant (with negative NPV of $-299/ha−yr-$-65/ha−yr) due to palm mortality from flood inundation. These areas would have been important riparian or flooded forest types. Moreover, 30,173 ha of unprotected forest remain and despite its value for connectivity and biodiversity 64% is allocated for future oil palm. However, we estimate that at minimum 54% of these forests are unsuitable for this crop due to inundation events. If conversion to oil palm occurs, we predict a further 16,207 ha will become commercially redundant. This means that over 32,000 ha of forest within the floodplain would have been converted for little or no financial gain yet with significant cost to the ecosystem. Our findings have globally relevant implications for similar floodplain landscapes undergoing forest transformation to agriculture such as oil palm. Understanding landscape level constraints to this crop, and transferring these into policy and practice, may provide conservation and economic opportunities within these seemingly high opportunity cost landscapes.
  • Harihar, A., Ghosh-Harihar, M. and MacMillan, D. (2014). Human resettlement and tiger conservation – Socio-economic assessment of pastoralists reveals a rare conservation opportunity in a human-dominated landscape. Biological Conservation [Online] 169:167-175. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2013.11.012.
    Resettlement of people for conservation is a contentious issue, but remains an important policy for conserving
    species like tigers which require vast, inviolate habitats. Recommendations to resettle communities
    should ideally be supported with careful evaluation of the needs of wildlife, socio-economic
    characteristics of dependent communities and their attitudes, and we present one such case study. Using
    a semi-structured questionnaire survey of 158 households across a gradient of tiger occupancy, we found
    overwhelming preference for resettlement among pastoralist Gujjars and hence an unexpected conservation
    opportunity to expand inviolate areas for tigers in the western Terai Arc Landscape. The main ‘push
    factors’ identified were declining forest productivity adversely affecting incomes and lack of access to
    education and health facilities. Thus, our findings represent a rare instance where excessive extraction
    of natural resources, recognized to be detrimental for biodiversity, is also the primary driver for resettlement.
    The desire for resettlement was also re-enforced by losses of livestock to diseases (72.7%) and carnivores
    (25.1%), which was uncompensated in 89% of the cases, and positive experiences from previously
    resettled households. Demand for resettlement was uniformly strong regardless of local tiger occupancy,
    but we suggest that funding for resettlement be prioritized for households in high tiger occupancy areas,
    given higher livestock depredation and possibilities for conflict. Our findings, therefore, represent a novel
    landscape-level conservation strategy that takes account of socio-economic circumstances across a gradient
    of predator pressure, and could build a constituency for tiger conservation among local communities
    consistent with national and global objectives.
  • MacMillan, D. et al. (2014). ‘Yes-in-my-backyard’: Spatial differences in the valuation of forest services and local co-benefits for carbon markets in México. Ecological Economics [Online] 109:130-141. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2014.11.008.
    Forests provide many and large benefits, including cost-efficient climate change mitigation. However international
    carbon markets have not stimulated the demand for forestry offsets. Domestic market-mechanisms are emerging inmany countries and forests could be highly valued through these policies asmost of the benefits produced
    by forests are enjoyed locally. Here, a choice experiment explores drivers of valuation and willingness to
    pay for forest carbon services in voluntary markets in Mexico by comparing the valuation of citizens from four
    regions to test geographical preference for projects (n = 645). Findings from multinomial-logit models show
    valuation of forest carbon services is transferable and citizens would pay more for offsets from projects closer
    to their homes. Proximate forests provide a range of co-benefits to local users, including environmental services
    and opportunities for recreation. Factors related to valuation include sense of responsibility, previous knowledge
    of carbon emissions, previous visits to the sites, regional identification and the valuation of local environmental services (e.g. improvements in local air quality). Knowledge of spatial heterogeneity in valuation of the use of forest services can help to design market-based instruments by identifying highly valued areas for environmental services programs and carbon markets.
  • MacMillan, D. (2014). Understanding carnivore killing behaviour: Exploring the motivations for tiger killing in the Sundarbans, Bangladesh. Biological Conservation 180:42-50.
    This paper explores village-based tiger killing (TK) among communities bordering the Sundarbans mangrove forest, Bangladesh. We find that TKs are not purely retaliatory in nature (i.e. a desire for retribution following livestock depredation or attacks on humans by tigers) and that previous negative experience of tigers is not the sole determinant of villagers’ acceptance of TK behaviour. Inter-related social-psychological factors (risk perceptions, beliefs about tigers, tolerance for tigers), institutional failings (i.e. of the institutions villagers perceive to be responsible for resolving village tiger incidents), perceived personal rewards (financial rewards, enhanced social status, medicinal or protective value of tiger body parts), and contextual factors (the severity of a village tiger incident) motivate people to kill tigers when they enter villages and foster the widespread acceptance of this behaviour. Knowledge of these motivational factors can be used to develop conservation actions suitable for developing both communities’ capacity and, crucially, desire to co-exist with tigers and to respond with non-lethal action to village tiger incidents.
  • MacMillan, D. and Challender, D. (2014). Changing behavior to tackle the wildlife trade. Frontiers in Ecology and Environment [Online] 12:203-203. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/1540-9295-12.4.203.
  • Veríssimo, D. et al. (2014). Using a Systematic Approach to Select Flagship Species for Bird Conservation. Conservation Biology [Online] 28:269-277. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cobi.12142.
    Conservation marketing campaigns that focus on flagship species play a vital role in biological
    diversity conservation because they raise funds and change people’s behavior. However, most flagship species
    are selected without considering the target audience of the campaign, which can hamper the campaign’s
    effectiveness. To address this problem, we used a systematic and stakeholder-driven approach to select flagship
    species for a conservation campaign in the Serra do Urubu in northeastern Brazil. We based our techniques
    on environmental economic and marketing methods. We used choice experiments to examine the species
    attributes that drive preference and latent-class models to segment respondents into groups by preferences and
    socioeconomic characteristics. We used respondent preferences and information on bird species inhabiting
    the Serra do Urubu to calculate a flagship species suitability score. We also asked respondents to indicate
    their favorite species from a set list to enable comparison between methods. The species’ traits that drove
    audience preference were geographic distribution, population size, visibility, attractiveness, and survival in
    captivity. However, the importance of these factors differed among groups and groups differed in their views
    on whether species with small populations and the ability to survive in captivity should be prioritized. The
    popularity rankings of species differed between approaches, a result that was probably related to the different
    ways in which the 2 methods measured preference. Our new approach is a transparent and evidence-based
    method that can be used to refine the way stakeholders are engaged in the design of conservation marketing
  • MacMillan, D. (2014). Poaching is more than an enforcement problem. Conservation Letters [Online] 7:484-494. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/conl.12082.
    Today record levels of funding are being invested in enforcement and antipoaching
    measures to tackle the “war on poaching,” but many species are
    on the path to extinction. In our view, intensifying enforcement effort is crucial,
    but will ultimately prove an inadequate long-term strategy with which
    to conserve high-value species. This is because: regulatory approaches are being overwhelmed by the drivers of poaching and trade, financial incentives for poaching are increasing due to rising prices and growing relative poverty between areas of supply and centers of demand, and aggressive enforcement of trade controls, in particular bans, can increase profits and lead to the involvement of organized criminals with the capacity to operate even under increased enforcement effort. With prices for high-value wildlife rising, we argue that
    interventions need to go beyond regulation and that new and bold strategies are needed urgently. In the immediate future, we should incentivize and build capacity within local communities to conserve wildlife. In the medium term, we should drive prices down by reexamining sustainable off-take mechanisms such as regulated trade, ranching and wildlife farming, using economic levers such as taxation to fund conservation efforts, and in the long-term reduce demand through social marketing programs.
  • Harihar, A., Pandav, B. and MacMillan, D. (2014). Identifying realistic recovery targets and conservation actions for tigers in a human dominated landscape using spatially-explicit densities of wild prey and their determinants. Diversity and Distributions [Online] 20:567-578. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ddi.12174.
    Setting realistic population targets and identifying actions for site and landscape-level recovery plans are critical for achieving the global target of doubling wild tiger numbers by 2022. Here, we estimate the spatially explicit densities of wild ungulate prey across a gradient of disturbances in two disjunct tiger habitat blocks (THBs) covering 5212 km2, to evaluate landscape-wide conditions for tigers and identify opportunities and specific actions for recovery.

    Western Terai Arc Landscape, India.

    Data generated from 96 line transects in 15 systematically selected geographical cells (166.5 km2) were used to estimate spatially explicit densities of six wild ungulate prey species at a fine scale (1 km2). Employing distance-based density surface models, we derived species-specific estimates within three major forest land management categories (inviolate protected areas (PA), PAs with settlements and multiple-use forests). By scaling estimated prey densities using an established relationship, we predicted the carrying capacity for tigers within each THB.

    Species-specific responses of the six wild ungulates to natural-habitat and anthropogenic covariates indicated the need for targeted prey recovery strategies. Inviolate PAs supported the highest prey densities compared with PAs with settlements and multiple-use forests, and specifically benefited the principal tiger prey species (chital Axis axis and sambar Rusa unicolor). The estimated mean prey density of 35.16 (±5.67) individuals per km2 can potentially support 82 (62–106) and 299 (225–377) tigers across THB I and THB II, which currently support 2 (2–7) and 225 (199–256) tigers, respectively. This suggests a potential c. 68% increase in population size given existing prey abundances. Finally, while THB I represents a potential tiger recovery site given adequate prey, PAs where resettlement of pastoralists is underway represent potential prey recovery sites in THB II.

    Main conclusions
    This systematic approach of setting realistic population targets and prioritizing spatially explicit recovery strategies should aid in developing effective landscape conservation plans towards achieving global tiger conservation targets.
  • Veríssimo, D. et al. (2014). Has climate change taken prominence over biodiversity conservation? Bioscience [Online] 64:625-629. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biu079.
    The growing prominence of climate change has led to concerns that other important environmental issues, such as biodiversity loss, are being overshadowed. We investigate this assertion by examining trends in biodiversity and climate change coverage within the scientific and newspaper press, as well as the relative distribution of funding through the World Bank and the National Science Foundation, since the late 1980s. Our indicators substantiate some of these fears. To prevent biodiversity from becoming a declining priority, conservationists need to analyze the discourse surrounding climate change and determine how it has become the predominant environmental topic. In addition, given the common drivers of biodiversity loss and climate change, we argue that win–win solutions must be sought wherever possible. Conservationists need to be proactive and take this opportunity to use the mounting interest in climate change as a flagship to leverage more support and action to prevent further biodiversity loss.
  • Challender, D. and MacMillan, D. (2014). Transforming wildlife trade interventions: reply to Phelps et al. Conservation Letters [Online] 7:497-498. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/conl.12101.
  • Torres, A. et al. (2013). The valuation of forest carbon services by Mexican citizens: the case of Guadalajara city and La Primavera biosphere reserve. Regional Environmental Change [Online] 13:661-680. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10113-012-0336-z.
    Adequate demand for, and recognition of,forest carbon services is critical to success of market mechanisms for forestry-based conservation and climate change mitigation. National and voluntary carbon-offsetting schemes are emerging as alternatives to international compliance markets. We developed a choice experiment to explore determinants of local forest carbon-offset valuation. A total of 963 citizens from Guadalajara in Mexico
    were asked to consider a purchase of voluntary offsets from the neighbouring Biosphere Reserve of La Primavera and from two alternative more distant locations: La Michilı´a in the state of Durango and El Cielo in Tamaulipas. Surveys were applied in market stall sessions and online using two different sampling methods: the snowball technique and via a market research company. The local La Primavera site attracted higher participation and valuation than the more distant sites. However, groups particularly interested in climate change mitigation or cost may accept cost-efficient options in the distant sites. Mean implicit carbon prices obtained ranged from $6.79 to $15.67/tCO2eq depending on the surveying methodology and profile of respondents. Survey application mode can significantly affect outcome of the experiment. Values from the market stall sessions were higher than those from the snowball and market research samples obtained online; this may be linked to greater cooperation associated with personal interaction and collective action. In agreement with the literature, we found that valuation of forest carbon offsets is associated with cognitive, ethical, behavioural, geographical and economic factors.
  • MacMillan, D. (2013). Payments for ecosystem services and rural development: Landowners' preferences and potential participation in western Mexico. Ecosystem Services [Online] 6:72-81. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoser.2013.03.002.
    Incentive-based mechanisms cancontribute to rural development and deliver environmental services, but need to be attractive to landowners and communities to ensure their participation.Here we study the views of landowners and agrarian communities(ejidos)from central Jalisco in Mexico to identify characteristics that payment for environmental services (PES)programs conserving/enhancing forest cover could include in their design. A choice experiment was applied to 161 landowners and ejido-landowners. Results show that importance and dependency on cash payments can decrease if interventions to promote local development through improved health and education services and generation of employment and productive projects areincluded. Responses indicate that communal
    forested areas in ejidos would be most likely to enroll into PES.In some cases grasslands could be
    afforested. Agroforestry practices providing other environmental services could also be implemented e.g. windbreaks).Potential enrollment is lower in agricultural and peri-urban areas due to higher opportunity costs. Higher payments favor enrollment but may compromise the program's efficiency since aggregated cashflow over long periods can exceed the present value of the land itself in some areas. Offering a mix of cash and non-cash benefits based on local developmental needs might be the best way to promote participation in PES.
  • MacMillan, D. (2013). Perceived Efficacy of Livestock-Guarding Dogs in South Africa: Implications for Cheetah Conservation. Wildlife Society Bulletin [Online] 37:690-697. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/wsb.352.
    Large wild carnivore predation on domestic livestock and the associated financial losses may
    increase efforts toward lethal control of carnivore populations. Livestock-guarding dogs could provide an
    effective alternative to such lethal control by mitigating depredation losses. Although this information is
    available in North America, the cost-effectiveness of guarding dogs has not been studied in other areas
    experiencing large carnivore depredation such as South Africa, where the socio-economic context is very
    different from that of North America. We assessed the costs and benefits of 97 livestock-guarding dogs
    working on 94 farms in South Africa between 2005 and 2011 by reviewing data collected from questionnaires
    on perceived depredation losses prior to and during guarding dog placement, rates of guarding dog behavioral
    problems, removals, and pre-senile mortality. Perceived livestock depredation ceased in 91% of guarding dog placements, with gross mean annual financial savings US$ 3,189/farm. Estimated annual program costs per
    year of the livestock-guarding dog program were US$ 2,780. However, 16% of guarding dogs had reported
    behavioral problems, with inattentiveness cited as the most common problem. Twelve percent of guarding
    dogs were removed from the program because of behavioral problems. Premature death was observed in 22%
    of guarding dogs, most often due to snake bites. Participating farmer tolerance toward cheetahs (Acinonyx
    jubatus), as well as cheetah-sighting frequency, appeared to increase during participation in the livestockguarding dog program. If further corrective behavioral and snake-aversion training were implemented,
    guarding dogs may offer a cost-effective method of non-lethal predator control and could potentially
    contribute to the long-term mitigation of human–carnivore conflict in South Africa.
  • MacMillan, D. et al. (2013). Human-Tiger conflict in context: risks to lives and livelihoods in the Bangladesh Sundarbans. Human Ecology [Online] 41:169-186. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10745-012-9556-6.
    People’s perceptions of the risk posed by wild animals to human lives and/or livelihoods can influence the rate at
    which people intentionally kill these species. Consequently, human–wildlife conflict (HWC) management strategies may benefit from the inclusion of actions which reduce risk perceptions. This study uses Participatory Risk Mapping (PRM) and semi-structured interviews to explore local perceptions and the wider socio-economic context of human–tiger conflict (HTC)in the Bangladesh Sundarbans area. Of the 24 locally-relevant problems identified by the PRM process, tigers were the only problem to be cited by >50 % of respondents. The ‘tiger problem’ was also perceived by villagers to be of relatively high severity. Negative perceptions of tigers in the Sundarbans
    communities are exacerbated by other locally-experienced poverty-related problems, as well cyclones, floods and soil erosion. Interactions between the problems experienced by villagers, including HTC, result in a complex ‘risk web’ which detrimentally affects lives and livelihoods and ultimately perpetuates poverty levels in the Sundarbans communities. This research demonstrates that PRM and in-depth, qualitative research can enhance understanding of the perceived magnitude and wider socio-economic context of risks from wildlife and aid
    the identification of risk perception management actions which may help to reduce the number of animals killed by people.
    Panthera tigris . Human–wildlife conflict . Risk
    perception . Poverty . Sundarbans
  • MacMillan, D. (2013). Conservation Businesses and Conservation Planning in a Biological Diversity Hotspot. Conservation Biology [Online] 27:808-820. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cobi.12048.
    The allocation of land to biological diversity conservation competes with other land uses and the
    needs of society for development, food, and extraction of natural resources. Trade-offs between biological
    diversity conservation and alternative land uses are unavoidable, given the realities of limited conservation
    resources and the competing demands of society. We developed a conservation-planning assessment for the
    South African province of KwaZulu-Natal, which forms the central component of the Maputaland–Pondoland–
    Albany biological diversity hotspot. Our objective was to enhance biological diversity protection while promoting sustainable development and providing spatial guidance in the resolution of potential policy conflicts over priority areas for conservation at risk of transformation. The conservation-planning assessment combined spatial-distribution models for 646 conservation features, spatial economic-return models for 28 alternative land uses, and spatial maps for 4 threats. Nature-based tourism businesses were competitive with other land uses and could provide revenues of >US$60 million/year to local stakeholders and simultaneously help meeting conservation goals for almost half the conservation features in the planning region. Accounting for opportunity costs substantially decreased conflicts between biological diversity, agricultural use, commercial forestry, and mining. Accounting for economic benefits arising from conservation and reducing potential policy conflicts with alternative plans for development can provide opportunities for successful strategies that combine conservation and sustainable development and facilitate conservation action.
  • MacMillan, D. et al. (2013). Conservation marketing and education for less charismatic biodiversity and conservation businesses for sustainable development. Animal Conservation [Online] 16:263-264. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/acv.12060.
  • Di Minin, E. et al. (2013). Understanding heterogeneous preference of tourists for big game species: implications for conservation and management. Animal Conservation [Online] 16:249-258. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-1795.2012.00595.x.
    The ‘Big Five’ charismatic megafauna concept is considered key for financial competitiveness of protected areas in South Africa. However, this Western colonial concept is also leading to an underappreciation of wider biodiversity and the recovery of other endangered species. This study assessed the heterogeneity of tourist preferences for big game species in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, using a choice experiment approach, employing latent class modelling, in order to identify tourists' segments not necessarily drawn to the Big Five. The latent class segmentation identified two segments for both international and national tourists, largely defined by socio-economic characteristics. Less experienced and wealthier tourists were mostly interested in charismatic megafauna, while more experienced, but lower income tourists showed preferences for a broader range of species. Exploring viewing preferences in this way illustrates the potential to realign conservation businesses to achieve biodiversity conservation objectives. In the short term, managing protected areas for the Big Five and other favourite species will continue to deliver significant financial benefits to local stakeholders, but policy makers should consider using financial mechanisms to subsidize conservation actions for less charismatic species and develop the biodiversity base of safari tourism in South Africa.
  • MacMillan, D. (2013). Factors influencing the illegal harvest of wildlife by trapping and snaring among the Katu ethnic group in Vietnam. Oryx [Online] 48:304-312. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0030605312001445.
    The harvest of wildlife through hunting, trapping and snaring is illegal in Vietnam but remains widespread and is understood to be the major threat to many species. Clandestine activities such as trapping and snaring, which are deeply embedded in the culture and economy, are difficult to investigate and this study is the first to carry out in-depth research into the illegal capture and sale of wildlife by a major ethnic group in Vietnam. The research focused on two villages of the Katu, a forest-dwelling people living close to the boundary of the newly created Saola Nature Reserve, and involved collecting data from a focus group, 30 semi-structured interviews with trappers, and a number of informal, unstructured interviews with local forest rangers, forest officers and village headmen. We find that trapping is widespread and motivated by financial gain and non-pecuniary benefits such as social esteem and enjoyment, rather than by poverty per se. Trappers’ awareness of wildlife protection law was low and animals were killed indiscriminately in traps and snares designed to catch a range of animal species. With demand for wildlife and wildlife products expected to increase we believe that new approaches will be required to protect threatened species in Vietnamese protected areas.
  • Veríssimo, D. et al. (2013). Evaluating Conservation Flagships and Flagship Fleets. Conservation Letters [Online] 7:263-270. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/conl.12070.
    Flagship species are widely used in conservation but this single species approach has attracted criticism. One response is the “flagship fleet,” which uses several flagship species in one conservation marketing campaign. However, marketing theory suggests multibrand campaigns can be counter-productive. Here, we develop an evaluation strategy for conservation flagships, and use it to: measure the effectiveness of an existing bird flagship species; detect whether additional species are needed; and, if appropriate, identify which species should be added to create a flagship fleet. We show the bird species has high levels of visibility and recognition, but has traits that appeal to only half the target audience. We also show that this shortcoming could be overcome by forming a flagship fleet based on adding an endemic mammal or fish species but there are additional strategic considerations that must be taken into account, namely in terms of costs and potential future conflicts.
  • MacMillan, D. (2012). Stakeholder Perceptions of Potential Flagship Species for the Sacred Groves of the North Western Ghats, India. Human Dimensions of Wildlife: An Interdisciplinary Journal [Online] 17:257-269. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10871209.2012.675622.
    Flagship species are often key in marketing ecotourism. Such flagships, however,
    are frequently perceived differently by local communities and tourists, which could
    undermine the function of flagships in conservation. This article investigated the
    differences between locals’ and tourists’ perceptions about potential bird and tree
    flagships in sacred groves in the north Western Ghats, India, by surveying 154 villagers
    and 148 tourists. Tourists generally appreciated aesthetic value, but villagers
    had species-specific views that incorporate use, cultural, and aesthetic values of these
    species. The results imply that the views of tourists potentially complement the existing
    values of these species for villagers by promoting ecotourism. Our results suggest the
    importance of considering both tourists’ and locals’ perspectives if conservationists aim
    to promote ecotourism using flagships, and if they are to harness the support of local
    communities and strive for both biological and social sustainability.
  • Veríssimo, D. et al. (2012). Selecting marine invertebrate flagship species: Widening the net. Biological Conservation [Online] 145:4. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2011.11.007.
  • Veríssimo, D., MacMillan, D. and Smith, R. (2011). Marketing diversity: a response to Joseph and colleagues. Conservation Letters [Online] 4:326-327. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1755-263X.2011.00175.x.
  • Veríssimo, D., MacMillan, D. and Smith, R. (2011). Toward a systematic approach for identifying conservation flagships. Conservation Letters [Online] 4:1-8. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1755-263X.2010.00151.x.
    Flagship species are frequently used by conservation practitioners to raise funds and awareness for reducing biodiversity loss. However, uncertainty remains in the academic literature about the purpose of flagship species and little research has been conducted on improving the effectiveness of these campaigns. To reduce this problem, here, we suggest a new definition that further emphasizes their marketing role and propose an interdisciplinary framework to improve flagship identification, based on methodologies from social marketing, environmental economics, and conservation biology. This framework emphasizes that conservationists should specify the purpose of a campaign before working with the potential target audience to identify the most suitable species, and should monitor the success of their campaigns and feed this back into the marketing process. We then discuss the role of return on investment analyses to determine when funds are best spent on high-profile flagships and when raising the profile of other species is more appropriate. Finally, we discuss how the flagship concept can be applied to other aspects of biodiversity, such as priority regions and species sharing specific traits. Thus, we argue for closer collaboration between researchers and marketing experts to ensure that marketing becomes a mainstream part of the interdisciplinary science of conservation.
  • MacMillan, D. and Han, J. (2011). Cetacean by-Catch in the Korean Peninsula—by Chance or by Design? Human Ecology [Online] 39:757-768. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10745-011-9429-4.
    Whaling remains one of the most contentious issues in global conservation. In South Korea, where commercial and subsistence whaling are both illegal, domestic sales of cetacean products such as skin, blubber and red meat are allowed if they are accidently caught. However, environmental groups have claimed that the high price of meat may be acting as an incentive for illegal hunting and ‘deliberate by-catch’ where whales are intentionally killed or left to die by fishermen when they become trapped in their nets. In this paper we investigate the issue of deliberate by-catch and illegal hunting of the protected Minke J-stock population in Korean waters using grounded theory, an approach that allows theories and understanding to emerge from the analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data. Our research suggests that deliberate by-catch is almost certainly taking place but that illegal hunting and/or illegal importation from Japan may be far more significant sources of Minke whale meat. We discuss possible measures to reduce incentives for deliberate by-catch and illegal hunting such as the introduction of mandatory reporting of quantities supplied and consumed in restaurants and a tax on meat sales at auction. More generally, our research illustrates how the analysis of price movements can shed light on the scale of illegal wildlife trade and how a combination of both qualitative and quantitative methodologies can provide understanding of a complex, multifaceted conservation issue.
  • MacMillan, D. and Phillip, S. (2010). Can economic incentives resolve conservation conflict: The case of wild deer management and habitat conservation in the Scottish highlands. Human Ecology [Online] 38:485-493. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10745-010-9332-4.
    Market-based economic incentives are increasingly perceived as a cost-effective approach to biodiversity conservation but empirical evidence to substantiate this claim is lacking. Using both qualitative and quantitative data analysis this paper investigates the potential role of market incentives to increase venison production as a mechanism to resolve conflicts over wild red deer management in the Scottish Highlands. Our analysis suggests the approach is unlikely to be effective because investments in venison production would bring conflict with more important non-pecuniary objectives of landownership such as ‘sporting quality’ and ‘exclusivity’. At a broader level we urge caution when considering the deployment of economic instruments to resolve contemporary conservation conflicts where profit maximisation is not the dominant objective and/or where the target group is extremely wealthy.
  • MacMillan, D. et al. (2010). The Management and Role of Highland Sporting Estates in the Early Twenty-First Century: The Owner’s View of a Unique but Contested Form of Land Use. Scottish Geographical Journal [Online] 126:24-40. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14702540903499124.
    The role of Highland sporting estates in contemporary society is contested over issues as diverse as local economic development, deer management, illegal persecution of raptors and restrictions on public access to the hills. Drawing upon findings from a questionnaire survey and detailed in depth interviews this paper attempts to present a contemporary overview of the management and role of sporting estates as perceived by the owners themselves. For most the purchase of a sporting estate is a lifestyle choice and management centres on the non-financial benefits that flow from ownership and unfettered commercialism is widely regarded as undesirable. Owners are sympathetic to nature conservation but some ‘conservation activities’ would appear to have only tenuous links with mainstream interests of conservation organisations. Attitudes to public access are shaped by their potential to conflict with sporting activities and personal privacy but owners were largely tolerant of most activities except mountain biking, camping and canoeing. The uniformity of views and practices about estate management among owners was striking, with most rigidly adhering to traditional aims, practices and values: innovations were largely frowned upon and there appeared to be little enthusiasm for change of any kind.
  • Phillip, S. et al. (2009). Is legislation a barrier to the sustainable management of game species? A case study of wild deer in Britain. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management [Online] 52:993-1012. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09640560903327351.
    Wild game management for hunting in Western society has become increasingly complex as stakeholders have multiplied and as ‘sustainability’ influences the contemporary debate. This paper questions whether the current legal framework for game management, which has evolved from early European civilisations to focus on ‘hunting rights’, is relevant to regulate the contemporary environmental, social and economic dimensions of wild game and their management. Employing a narrative analysis to focus on deer, the study identifies key legislative tenets and highlights the pertinence of historical laws to contemporary conflicts. The analysis suggests that current legislation is increasingly divergent from contemporary trends and has created inertia with respect to sustainable deer management. The
    paper offers four options to redress this: state intervention; voluntary collaboration; financial incentives; and establishing a legal responsibility for management. It is concluded that significant innovation is required in one or more of these four areas to facilitate the contemporary sustainable management of wild deer in Britain.
  • Veríssimo, D. et al. (2009). Birds as tourism flagship species: a case study of tropical islands. Animal Conservation [Online] 12:549-558. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-1795.2009.00282.x.
    Species selected as flagships to promote conservation activities around the world are typically well known and charismatic mega-fauna. Unfortunately this limits the scope for applying the concept as some critical areas for biodiversity conservation, such as tropical islands, lack such species. In this study, we explore the potential to apply the concept of 'tourism flagship species' to tropical island birds of the Seychelles, an archipelago of considerable importance for conservation that is highly dependent on international tourism. In particular we wish to identify which species attributes are most influential with regard to their potential for fundraising among international tourists. Using a choice experiment approach and using state-of-the-art econometric methods, we found that conservation attributes and physical appearance of the bird species are both important in terms of raising funds for conservation. Nevertheless, conservation attributes ranked higher in the respondents preferences. Our results suggest that there is considerable potential for a variety of species to effectively act as flagships in developing nations that are dependent on international tourism and rich in biodiversity but lack charismatic fauna.

Book section

  • MacMillan, D. (2016). Poaching, Trade, and Consumption of Tiger Parts in the Bangladesh Sundarbans. in: The Geography of Environmental Crime : Conservation, Wildlife Crime and Environmental Activism. Springer, pp. 13-32. Available at: http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1057/978-1-137-53843-7_2.
    Tiger (Panthera tigris) populations are collapsing across their entire range due to the demand for tiger parts for traditional Asian medicines (Nowell, 2000). The global tiger population is now fewer than 3000, inhabiting less than 7 % of their historic habitat (Sanderson et al. 2006; Dinerstein et al. 2007). Recognising tiger poaching as one of the major reasons for the global population decline, several national and international commitments have been made to save the tigers from poachers.
  • Smith, R., Veríssimo, D. and MacMillan, D. (2010). Marketing and conservation: how to lose friends and influence people. in: Leader-Williams, N., Adams, W. M. and Smith, R. J. eds. Trade-offs in Conservation: Deciding What to Save. London: Blackwell, pp. 215-232.


  • MacMillan, D. (2015). The Trade in Wildlife: A Framework to improve Biodiversity and Livelihood Outcomes. International Trade Centre (ITC). Available at: https://www.cbd.int/financial/monterreytradetech/iucn-wildtrade.pdf.
    This paper provides an analytical framework for assessing the impact of international trade in wildlife and wildlife products on conservation and local livelihoods. It also explores the role of factors related to particular species and their habitat, governance settings, the supply-chain structure, and the nature of the end market. The framework is relevant for importers and exporters, regulators, policymakers, nongovernmental organizations, community representatives and researchers seeking to improve the sustainability of international wildlife supply chains.