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Research overview

PhD Title

Managing Urban Deer in Scotland: Understanding Perceptions to Shape Policymaking


Deer in urban and urban fringe areas in Scotland have become an increasing issue in recent years, due to their growing populations and encroachment into urban environments. As a result, human-deer interaction has increased, with the conflict between the two resulting in the possible need for deer management. A paucity of previous research means that little is known about these urban deer populations, with perceptions of urban deer and urban deer management also poorly understood. Consequently, policies are being shaped without much of an evidence-base, with the academic literature on the subject almost solely stemming from North America.

This study aims to understand the perceptions and experiences of experts, local authority staff, local councillors and the public regarding urban deer and deer management, aiming to shape policymaking on the topic. Local authorities have been identified as a potential key actor in the management of deer in urban areas. Interviews were undertaken with experts, which helped to form a concourse for a Q-methodology study undertaken by local authority staff from across Scotland. An online survey examined the views of local councillors on the topic, with a public postal survey being planned within two areas of Scotland to examine public views.

Research interests

Environmental management, wildlife, human-nature interactions, policymaking, Scotland's environment, human-nature conflicts

Projects from former institutions

MSc thesis at the University of Edinburgh (with Scotland's Rural College) focused on the impact of urban and rural location on knowledge and opinions of deer and deer management in Scotland.

Undergraduate dissertation at the University of St Andrews focussed on the effect of distance from wild land on public perceptions of rewilding.

Education/Academic qualification

Master of Science, Environmental Protection and Management, Edinburgh University

Award Date: 26 Nov 2019

Master of Arts, Geography, University of St Andrews

Award Date: 27 Jun 2018


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