School of Anthropology & Conservation

Excellence in diversity Global in reach



Professor Douglas MacMillan

Professor of Conservation and Applied Resource Economics

Economics of wildlife conservation; wildlife trade and poaching; human wildlife conflict; land use change.


profile image for Professor Douglas MacMillan

School roles and responsibilities

Academic Head for Human Ecology; Chief Examiner

Academic background

I focus on the economics of conservation and sustainable land use and collaborate with committed organisations and individuals to produce excellent, high-impact original research.

My 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.

I am passionate about learning and teaching. I enjoy teaching economics and explaining its relevance to conserving biodiversity and the planet. I teach on a wide range of modules in the School as part of our BSc, BA and MSc programmes and find it very rewarding to teach students from a wide variety of academic backgrounds and interests. I also travel overseas to deliver short courses in biodiversity economics which are specifically designed for students in those countries with no previous knowledge of economics.

I believe in inter-disciplinarity. The complex challenges of biodiversity conservation demands an interdisciplinary approach and I very much enjoy working with academics from other disciplines.

back to top


Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

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:
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:
Veríssimo, D. et al. (2018). Why do people donate to conservation? Insights from a 'real world' campaign. PLOS ONE [Online] 13:e0191888. Available at:
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:
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:
Hanley, N. et al. (2017). The Allure of the Illegal: Choice Modeling of Rhino Horn Demand in Vietnam. Conservation Letters [Online]. Available at:
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:
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:
Showing 8 of 94 total publications in KAR. [See all in KAR]


back to top

I am teaching:

  • SE306 An Introduction to Ethnobiology
  • DI304 Environmental and Economic Systems
  • DI522 Research Project
  • DI878 Social Science Perspectives on Conservation (2 weeks)
  • DI885 Rural Development and Conservation Field Trip to Malta
  • DI888 Economics of Biodiversity Conservation

I also teach intensive short courses in Biodiversity Economics that have been specially designed for professionals and PGT students overseas institutions.

back to top

A bit of quiet bird spotting on the Tibetan plateau My research interests focus on understanding the economics of biodiversity conservation and land use decision-making. I am especially excited by the notion that biodiversity conservation will be able to pay for itself through the creation of new markets and/or complimentary livelihood strategies.

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

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

back to top

Selling gifts to tourists is a ket source of income for Massai women of all agesCurrent PhD students:

  • Robin Lines - Lanscape Connectivity in the Kavango-Zambezi TFCA

Previous DICE PhD Students

  • 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 South-East Asia (in association with TRAFFIC). Funded by ESRC - NERC.
  • Abishek Harihar - landscape planning for tigers in North-West 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 croftingin high nature value areas.
  • C. Preide - 2003-2008. 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.
back to top

I have had the privilege of participating in various capacities and roles as advisor and academic reviewer to national and regional government, NGOs and to Research Councils such as the ESRC. Recent highlights include being invited to review the Swedish Government's Biodiversity Research programme together with other academics from around the world and being invited to give a plenary address to the Education Panel of the Guiyang Environmental Forum.

I am on the Editorial Board of Conservation Letters.

back to top

I am willing and able to talk about the international wildlife trade, wildlife poaching, land reform (Scotland), forest policy (UK), valuing nature, conservation planning and deer management (UK).


Media work encompasses TV, radio and online activity. Recent forays include an interview with Monty Don on Radio 4’s Shared Planet’ first aired on Monday 6 January 2014 on deer activity (the programme can be heard again here). I also write commentaries for various web-based news agencies about conservation topics such as poaching and the wildlife trade. A list of recent press releases can be found here.

Media Coverage Report


I have carried out consultancy assignments around the word for the past 15 years, primarily in south-east Asia, China, but also the UK and Africa. Clients include the Asian Development Bank, UK and Scottish Governments, and DANIDA.

I enjoy the diversity of projects that consultancy exposes me too and the challenge of meeting client expectations under a tight schedule.

back to top

School of Anthropology and Conservation - © University of Kent

School of Anthropology and Conservation, Marlowe Building, The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NR, T: +44 (0)1227 827056

Last Updated: 13/10/2017