Senior Research Fellow at Griffith University
Environmental Future Research Institute (EFRI)
Website: https://bit.ly/39a2bch

Duan is the founder of resilientconservation.org. 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 (www.resalliance.org), 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.


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.



  • Johnson, P., Adams, V., Armstrong, D., Baker, S., Biggs, D., Boitani, L., Cotterill, A., et al. (2019). Consequences Matter: Compassion in Conservation Means Caring for Individuals, Populations and Species. Animals, 9(12), 1115. http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ani9121115

  • Brown, A., Dean, A., Possigham, H., Biggs, D. (2019). The role of animal welfare values in the rhino horn trade debate. Conservation Science and Practice, 1(11), e103. https://doi.org/10.1111/csp2.104

  • De Vos, A., Clements, H., Biggs, D., Cumming, G. (2019). The dynamics of proclaimed privately protected areas in South Africa over 83 years. Conservation Letters, 12(6), e12644. https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12644

  • Knight, A, Cook, C., Redford, K., Biggs, D., Romero, C., Ortega-Argueta, A., Norman, C., et al. (2019). Improving conservation practice with principles and tools from systems thinking and evaluation. Sustainability Science, 14(6), 1531-1548. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-019-00676-x

  • Mills, M., Bode, M., Mascia M., Weeks R., Gelcich, S., Dudley, N., Govan, H. et al. Biggs, D. (2019). How conservation initiatives go to scale. Nature Sustainability, 2(10), 935-940. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-019-0384-1

  • Stuart, S., Al Dhaheri, S., Bennett, E., Biggs, D., Bignell, A., Byers, O., Cooney, R., et al. (2019). IUCN's encounter with 007: safeguarding consensus for conservation. Oryx, 53(4), 741-747. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605317001557

  • López-Cubillos, S., Suárez-Castro, F., McDonald-Madden, E., Biggs, D., Nates-Parra, G., Gutierrez-Chacón, C., Runting, R. (2019). Colombia short on political will to protect pollinators. Nature, 573, 196-196. 10.1038/d41586-019-02680-8

  • Derkley, T., Biggs, D., Holden, M., Phillips, C. (2019). A framework to evaluate animal welfare implications of policies on rhino horn trade. Biological Conservation, 235, 236-249. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2019.05.004

  • Moon, K., Guerrero, A., Adams, V., Biggs, D., Blackman, D., Craven, L., Dickinson, H., et al. (2019). Mental models for conservation research and practice. Conservation Letters, 12(3), e12642. https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12642

  • Holden, M., Biggs, D., Brink, H., Bal, P., Rhodes, J., McDonald‐Madden, E. (2019). Increase anti‐poaching law‐enforcement or reduce demand for wildlife products? A framework to guide strategic conservation investments. Conservation Letters, 12(3), e12618. https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12618

  • Virah-Sawmy, M., Durán, A., Green, J., Guerrero, A., Biggs, D., West, C. (2019). Sustainability gridlock in a global agricultural commodity chain: Reframing the soy–meat food system. Sustainable Production and Consumption, 18, 210-223. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.spc.2019.01.003

  • Arafeh-Dalmau, N., Linares, C., Hereu, B., Caceres-Escobar, H., Biggs, D., Possingham, H. (2019). Protect Catalonia's corals despite politics. Science (New York, NY), 363(6423), 135. 10.1126/science.aav8710

  • Biggs, D., Ban, N., Castilla, J., Gelcich, S., Mills, M., Gandiwa, E., Etienne, M., et al. (2019). Insights on fostering the emergence of robust conservation actions from Zimbabwe's CAMPFIRE program. Global Ecology and Conservation, 17, e00538. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2019.e00538

  • Schwartz,  M., Belhabib, D., Biggs, D., Cook, C., Fitzsimons, J., Giordano, A., Glew, L., et al. (2019). A vision for documenting and sharing knowledge in conservation. Conservation Science and Practice, 1(1). DOI:10.1111/csp2.1


  • Cheung, H., Wang, Y., Biggs, D. (2018). China's reopened rhino horn trade. Science, 362(6421), 1369-1369. 10.1126/science.aav9392

  • Martinez-Harms, M., Bryan, B., Wood, S., Fisher, D., Law, E., Rhodes, J., Dobbs, C., et al. Biggs, D. (2018). Inequality in access to cultural ecosystem services from protected areas in the Chilean biodiversity hotspot. Science of the Total Environment, 636, 1128-1138. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.04.353

  • Braczkowski, A., Holden, M.H., O'Bryan, C., Choi, C.Y., Gan, X., Beesley, N., et al., Biggs, D. (2018). Reach and messages of the world's largest ivory burn. Conservation Biology, 32(4), 765-773. https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13097

  • Cheung, H., Mazerolle, L., Possingham, H., Biggs, D. (2018). Medicinal use and legalized trade of rhinoceros horn from the perspective of traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners in Hong Kong. Tropical Conservation Science, 11. https://doi.org/10.1177/1940082918787428

  • van Velden, J., Wilson, K., Biggs, D. 2018. The evidence for the bushmeat crisis in African savannas: a systematic quantitative literature review. Biological Conservation 221, 345-356. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2018.03.022

  • Biggs D., Smith R., Adams V., Brink, H., Cook, C., Cooney, R., Holden, M.,  et al. (2018). Ivory crisis: Role of bioprinting technology - Response. Science, 360(6386), 277-278. 10.1126/science.aat1596

  • Biggs D., Smith R., Adams V., Brink, H., Cook, C., Cooney, R., Holden, M.,  et al. (2018). Response—Ivory crisis. Science, 360(6386), 277.2-278. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aat1596

  • Stirnemann, R.L., Stirnemann, I.A., Abbot, D., Biggs, D., Heinsohn, R. 2018. Interactive impacts of by-catch take and elite consumption of illegal wildlife. Biodiversity and conservation, 27 (4), 931-946. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-017-1473-y

  • Guerrero, A., Biggs, D., Jones, N., Ross, H. (2018). Disentangling complex sustainability issues in global food systems. Conference: 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology. 10.17011/conference/eccb2018/107899

  • Wright, O., Cundill, G., Biggs, D. (2018).Stakeholder perceptions of legal trade in rhinoceros horn and implications for private reserve management in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Oryx 52 (1), 175-185.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605316000764


  • Biggs D., Holden M.H., Braczkowski A. et al. (2017) Breaking the deadlock on ivory. Science, 358(6369), 1378-1381. 10.1126/science.aan5215

  • Martinez-Harms M., Caceres H., Biggs D., Possingham H. (2017) After Chile's fires, reforest private land. Science, 356(6334), 147-148. 10.1126/science.aan0701


  • Cooney, R., Roe, D., Dublin, H., Phelps, J., Wilkie, D., Keane, A., Travers, H., Skinner, D., Challender, D., Allan, J.R., Biggs, D. (2016). From poachers to protectors – engaging local communities in solutions to illegal wildlife trade. Conservation Letters, 10(3), 367-374. 10.1111/conl.12294

  • Biggs D., Cooney R., Roe D. et al. (2016) Developing a theory of change for a community‐based response to illegal wildlife trade. Conservation Biology 31, 5-12. 10.1111/cobi.12796

  • Biggs, D.(2016). Trump: time to seize environmental gains. Nature 540, 341 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/540341c

  • Phelps, J., Biggs, D., Webb, E. (2016). Tools and terms for understanding illegal wildlife trade. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 14 (9), 479-489. https://doi.org/10.1002/fee.1325

  • Wilson J.W., Biggs D. (2016) Passport power: Entrenching inequality. Science 353, 1216-1216. 10.1126/science.aajl1604

  • Biggs D., Holden M., Bracscowzki A., Possingham H. (2016) Elephant Poaching: Track the impact of Kenya's ivory burn . Nature 534, 179-179. 10.1038/534179a

  • Biggs D., Amar F., Valdebenito A., Gelcich S. (2016) Potential Synergies between Nature-Based Tourism and Sustainable Use of Marine Resources: Insights from Dive Tourism in Territorial User Rights for Fisheries in Chile. PloS one 11, e0148862. 10.1371/journal.pone.0148862


  • Biggs D., Hicks C.C., Cinner J.E., Hall C.M.(2015) Marine tourism in the face of global change: The resilience of enterprises to crises in Thailand and Australia. Ocean & Coastal Management 105, 65-74. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2014.12.019


  • Cumming G., Allen C., Biggs, D et al. (2015) Understanding protected area resilience: a multi-scale, social-ecological approach. Ecological Applications 25, 299-319. https://doi.org/10.1890/13-2113.1


  • Maciejewski K., De Vos A., Cumming G.S., Moore C.A., Biggs D.(2014).Cross-scale feedbacks and scale mismatches as influences on cultural services and the resilience of protected areas. Ecological Applications 25:11-23. https://doi.org/10.1890/13-2240.1

  • Smith, R., Biggs, D., St. John, F., Sas-Rolfes, M., Barrington, R. (2014). Elephant conservation and corruption beyond the ivory trade. Conservation Biology, 29(3), 953-956. 10.1111/cobi.12488

  • Moon,  K., Adams, V., Januchowski-Hartley, S., Polyakov, M., Mills, M., Biggs, D., Knight, A., et al. (2014).A Multidisciplinary Conceptualization of Conservation Opportunity. Conservation Biology 28: 1484-1496. 10.1111/cobi.12408

  • Moore, M., Tjornbo, O., Enfors, E., Knapp, C., Hodbod, J., Baggio, J., Norstrom, A., et al., Biggs, D.(2014) Studying the complexity of change: toward an analytical framework for understanding deliberate social-ecological transformations. Ecology and Society 19(4): 54. http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-06966-190454

  • Biggs, D., Swemmer, S., Phillips, G., Stevens, J., Freitag, S., Grant, R.(2014) The development of a tourism research framework by South African National Parks to inform management. Koedoe 56(2) a1164.  https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v56i2.1164 


  • Gelcich, S., Amar, F., Valdebenito, A., Castilla, J., Fernandez, M., Godoy, C., Biggs, D. (2013) Exploring the potential of financing marine protected areas through visitor fees in temperate ecosystems: Insights from a willingness to pay study in  Lafken Mapu Lahual, Chile. Ambio 42:975-984. 10.1007/s13280-013-0453-z

  • Butt, N., Beyer, H., Biggs, D., Magginiet, R., Mills, M., Renwick, A., Seabrook, L., et al. (2013) Biodiversity risks from fossil fuel extraction. Science 342: 425-426. 10.1126/science.1237261

  • Biggs, D., Courchamp F., Martin, R., Possingham, H. (2013). Rhino poaching: supply and demand uncertain. Science 340: 1168-1169. 10.1126/science.340.6137.1168-b

  • Biggs, D., Courchamp F., Martin, R., Possingham, H. (2013). Legal trade of Africa’s rhino horns. Science 339:1038-1039. 10.1126/science.1229998


  • Biggs, D., Ban, N., Hall, C.  (2012) Lifestyle values, resilience, and nature-based tourism’s contribution to conservation on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Environmental Conservation 39: 370-379. 10.1017/S0376892912000239

  • Biggs, R., Schlüter, M., Biggs, D., Bohensky, E., BurnSilver, S., Cundill, G., Dakos, V., et al. (2012). Toward principles for enhancing the resilience of ecosystem services. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 37, 421-448. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-environ-051211-123836

  • Biggs D., Hall, C., Stoeckl, N. (2012). The resilience of formal and informal tourism enterprises to disasters –  the case of reef tourism in Phuket. Journal for Sustainable Tourism 20: 645-665. https://doi.org/10.1080/09669582.2011.630080

  • Cundill, G., Cumming; G., Biggs, D., Fabricuis, C. (2012). Soft systems thinking and social learning for adaptive management. Conservation Biology 26:13-20. 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2011.01755.x


  • Biggs. D., Biggs, R., Dakos, V., Scholes, R., Schoon, M. (2011).  Are we entering an era of concatenated crises? Ecology and Society 16(2). 10.5751/ES-04079-160227

  • Biggs, D., Abel, N.,  Knight, A., Leitch, A., Langston, A., Ban, N. (2011). The implementation crisis in conservation planning – could mental models help? Conservation Letters 4:169-183. 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2011.00170.x

  • Biggs, D. (2011). Understanding Resilience in a Vulnerable Industry: the Case of Reef Tourism in Australia. Ecology and Society 16(1): 30. 10.5751/ES-03948-160130

  • Biggs, D., Turpie J., Fabricius, C., Spenceley, A. (2011). The value of avitourism for community-based conservation – an analysis from South  Africa. Conservation and Society 9(1): 80-90. 10.4103/0972-4923.79198​