Biodiversity and the feel-good factor: understanding associations between self-reported human well-being and species richness

Dallimer, M. and Irvine, K.N. and Skinner, A.M.J. and Davies, Z.G. and Armsworth, P.R. and Rouquette, J.R. and Maltby, L.L. and Warren, P.H. and Gaston, K.J. (2012) Biodiversity and the feel-good factor: understanding associations between self-reported human well-being and species richness. BioScience, 62 (1). pp. 47-55. ISSN 0006-3568. (Full text available)

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/bio.2012.62.1.9

Abstract

Over half of the world's human population lives in cities, and for many, urban greenspaces are the only places where they encounter biodiversity. This is of particular concern because there is growing evidence that human well-being is enhanced by exposure to nature. However, the specific qualities of greenspaces that offer the greatest benefits remain poorly understood. One possibility is that humans respond positively to increased levels of biodiversity. Here, we demonstrate the lack of a consistent relationship between actual plant, butterfly, and bird species richness and the psychological well-being of urban greenspace visitors. Instead, well-being shows a positive relationship with the richness that the greenspace users perceived to be present. One plausible explanation for this discrepancy, which we investigate, is that people generally have poor biodiversity-identification skills. The apparent importance of perceived species richness and the mismatch between reality and perception pose a serious challenge for aligning conservation and human well-being agendas.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH75 Conservation (Biology)
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: Zoe Davies
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2012 14:19
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2013 12:52
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/28709 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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