I am interdisciplinary scholar with a passion for utilizing social science field research to improve lives and conserve ecosystems. As a professor, my main objective is to empower students with the tools they need to research what they love. Of all my accomplishments, I am most proud that my SFS students have presented their directed research at international conferences, published their findings in books and peer reviewed journals, and carry these experiences with them as they transition into graduate schools and environmental careers. The main goal of my research is to ensure the voices of all stakeholders are included in the creation and implementation of effective natural resource governance that works for people.
In Bocas del Toro, I continue to lead research initiatives geared towards elevating local voices and steering development in locally desirable and sustainable ways. My main research focus lies at the intersection of tourism and sustainable development. Under that umbrella, I have studied surf, Indigenous-led, protected area, peer-to-peer accommodation, party, and wildlife tourism. I have been awarded a Fulbright Scholar Award and a grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to pursue surf tourism research. The latter has led to the creation of destination management organizations with diverse community participation in two surf destinations in El Salvador. I continue to advise both organizations towards achieving globally recognized sustainability certifications – a process which has facilitated infrastructure improvements to clean up rivers, collect and recycle trash, and ensure there are opportunities for local employment and advancement in tourism related careers.
Academics & Research
Founding Member, International Association of Surf Academics (2016 - present)
Co-Founder, SeaState LLC (2015 - present)
Associate Director, Center for Surf Research (2014 - present)
Mach, L. & Vahradian, D. (2019). Tourists want to be spooked, not schooled: Sustaining Indigenous tourism in the Bastimentos Island National Marine Park. Journal of Ecotourism. (under second revision for special issue).
Mach, L., Ponting, J., Brown, J., & Savage, J. (2018). Riding waves of intra-seasonal demand in surf tourism: analysing the nexus of seasonality and 21st century surf forecasting technology. Annals of Leisure Research.
Scott, C., & Mach, L. (2018). The role of research and training institutions in tourism destination governance in Bocas del Toro. In D. Suman, & A. K. Spalding (Eds.), Coastal resources of Bocas del Toro, Panama: Tourism and development pressures and the quest for sustainability (pp. 105-132). Coral Gables, FL: University of Miami.
Budishack, C., Sewell, D., Thomson, H., Mach, L., Veron, D., and Kempton, W. (2013). Journal of Power Sources. Volume 225, Pages 60-74. Available at: http://www.ceoe.udel.edu/windpower/resources/BudischakEtAl-AsPublished-Corrected.pdf
“Are locals invited to the party? Assessing the impact of party tourism on local stakeholders in Bocas del Toro, Panama.” The Caribbean International Tourism Conference, University of the West Indies, Barbados, December 11-13, 2019.