Name: Maire Kirkland

Project Title: Nature-based tourism: current drivers and future potential in a changing world

Cohort: 2016/17

Institution: Durham University, Newcastle University, Cambridge University


  • Stephen Willis, Durham University
  • Mark Wittingham, Newcastle University
  • Andew Balmford, Cambridge University


My research interests are broad and include the ecological and social dimensions of conservation management. For my undergraduate I studied Natural Sciences at Durham University, specialising in Anthropology and Biology, with modules in Geography and Archaeology. I then undertook a master’s degree in Conservation at University College London. My experience outside of academia includes exploring the effects of socio-economic and climatic change on wildlife populations and local indigenous livelihoods in the Peruvian Amazon. I also monitored the population dynamics and behaviour of mammals in Mexico in order to assess the impacts of climate change as well as bushmeat hunting and habitat fragmentation. Working in protected areas that depend on a thriving tourism industry led me to my current research at Durham University.

For my PhD I am exploring what drives global nature-based tourism. In particular, I will identify what traits make a species attractive to tourists. I will highlight the features of protected areas that maximize visitation and uncover regions where the potential for nature-based tourism is currently being under-exploited. By modelling the future distribution of species I will be able to assess how human development and climate change might affect nature-based tourism patterns in the future.


Publications/Conference talks/Posters:

Mayor, P., Pérez-Peña, P., Bowler, M., Puertas, P.E., Kirkland, M. and Bodmer, R. 2015. Effects of selective logging on large mammal populations in a remote indigenous territory in the northern Peruvian Amazon. Ecology and Society 20(4):36. [online] URL:   

Kirkland, M., Eisenberg, C., Axmacher, J. and Bodmer, R. (Under review at Human Ecology) Sustainable wildlife extraction by the Kukama-Kukamilla people of the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, Peru.

Antunez, M., Chota, K., Fang, T., Puertas, P., Pibet, M., Kirkland, M. et al. (Under review at Biological Conservation) Consequences of Consecutive Years of High Flood Pulses on Wildlife in the Peruvian Amazon.


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