Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Matthew T.J. Brownlee

Committee Member

Dr. Lori A. Dickes

Committee Member

Dr. Satya Prakash Yadav

Committee Member

Dr. Rajesh Gopal

Committee Member

Dr. Brett A. Wright


In 2010, tiger conservation received global attention following a dangerously low estimation of 3,200 tigers in the wild. In response, leaders from the 13 tiger range countries committed to doubling the wild tiger population by 2022. In recent years, tiger numbers have increased considerably in the Himalayan region as the species is venturing into higher-altitude landscapes. As the tiger and human populations increase in the region, the probability of the two species interacting also increases. Therefore, this dissertation, comprised of three independent studies, aimed to identify, and address tiger conservation issues in the Himalayan region from a social science perspective.

In the first study, a systematic scoping review was used to understand the nature, extent, and trends of the research literature about tiger conservation in the region (Bhutan, India and Nepal) between 2000 and 2020. Results indicate that 216 studies have been conducted and have mainly focused on tiger habitat, ecology, and regional conflicts. The results provide research gaps and recommendations for researchers, policymakers, and agencies to prioritize tiger conservation research topics and interventions in the Himalayan region.

The second study was conducted in the state of Sikkim in northeast India to understand local communities’ perceptions toward tigers and tiger conservation using semi-structured interviews. Significant themes from the 42 interviews were social capital, tiger presence, benefits, conservation, and communities’ recommendations. The results highlight factors shaping human judgments toward tigers and natural resources more broadly, which decision-makers can use to address the priorities of a broad range of stakeholders.

The third study was a systematic evaluation of Project Tiger that investigated how the biophysical environment, socioeconomic conditions, and institutional arrangements have contributed to the increased tiger population in India, including areas in the Himalayas. This study summarizes the strengths and challenges in India’s tiger conservation environment to improve species recovery in the wild.

Ultimately, findings from these studies identify the research, policy, and community mechanisms that can continue to promote tiger conservation in the Himalayan region. This dissertation also provides lessons for other tiger range countries that have experienced less conservation success. Many results and recommendations are transferrable to other species and conservation landscapes.

Author ORCID Identifier



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