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|Title:||In pursuit of urban sustainability: predicting public perceptions of park biodiversity using simple assessment tools|
|Citation:||International Journal of Environmental Research, 2019; 13(4):707-720|
|M.F. Schebella, D. Weber, L. Schultz, P. Weinstein|
|Abstract:||In the face of ongoing global species loss, it is vital that urban societies see the value of biodiversity. However, practical strategies to enhance society’s appreciation of biodiversity are limited by the disparity that exists between public perceptions and expert assessments of biodiversity. To enhance our understanding of this disparity, and to provide insight into the visual cues that influence laypeople’s perceptions of biodiversity, four novel non-expert-dependent assessment tools—along with estimates of vegetation cover and bird species richness—were used to examine the attributes of 134 Australian urban parks. Ordinal regression modelling was used to explore the ability of these tools to predict perceptions of biodiversity and naturalness collected via a public questionnaire that yielded 1894 individual green space perception responses from 840 individuals. Despite researchers theorising otherwise, changes in structural variation were too subtle to significantly influence perceptions. Vegetation cover, habitat diversity, and a proposed Urban Park Naturalness Index (UPNI) were the strongest predictors of perceived biodiversity, explaining 31% of respondent perceptions. Bird species richness significantly influenced perceptions of naturalness but not biodiversity. Despite a relatively weak correlation between perceptions and objective measures (Nagelkerke R-squared = 0.307), we demonstrate how subtle changes in assessed attributes significantly affect predicted perceptions of the environment. For example, every additional habitat type within a park increases the odds of it being in a higher perceived biodiversity category by 31.7%. We suggest further development of simple assessment tools, such as the UPNI, that provide valuable insights into human responses to nature, and can aid the sustainable design and management of urban green space.|
|Keywords:||Biodiversity; green space; naturalness; perceptions; species richness; urban parks|
|Rights:||© University of Tehran 2019|
|Appears in Collections:||Ecology, Evolution and Landscape Science publications|
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