Duan Biggs

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 PhD 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 PhD he worked closely with researchers from the Resilience Alliance (www.resalliance.org), links that he maintains closely to this day. After his PhD Duan worked for Scientific Services of South African National Parks to develop a tourism research program for 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 a 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.