Kyle Wagner is currently working on his master’s degree in the Department of Geography at York University. He is a part of the New Directions in Environmental Governance project (NDEG), a funded research grant that is directed by Peter Vandergeest. Kyle's area of focus is in political ecology, ecotourism, neoliberism and conservation management within national biodiversity conservation areas (NBCAs) of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). His thesis will investigate the changing role of environmental governance over forests, wildlife and villagers in the Lao PDR as a result of a growing enforcement of conservation by nature-based ecotourism ventures seeking poverty alleviation within protected areas. Kyle holds a bachelor’s degree in International Studies with a minor in Global Asia Studies from DePaul University in Chicago, USA. He has over two years of Japanese language training, enrolled in a year of Mandarin language courses, and is conversational in Lao. He has recently worked in the tourism industry in Luang Prabang, Lao PDR, where he will return again in the summer of 2016 to conduct his fieldwork for his MA thesis.
Keywords: Political ecology; ecotourism; neoliberism; conservation management; Lao PDR