Psychological benefits of greenspace increase with biodiversity. Biol Lett 3:390-394

Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK.
Biology letters (Impact Factor: 3.25). 09/2007; 3(4):390-4. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2007.0149
Source: PubMed


The world's human population is becoming concentrated into cities, giving rise to concerns that it is becoming increasingly isolated from nature. Urban public greenspaces form the arena of many people's daily contact with nature and such contact has measurable physical and psychological benefits. Here we show that these psychological benefits increase with the species richness of urban greenspaces. Moreover, we demonstrate that greenspace users can more or less accurately perceive species richness depending on the taxonomic group in question. These results indicate that successful management of urban greenspaces should emphasize biological complexity to enhance human well-being in addition to biodiversity conservation.

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    • "Urban green spaces may enhance biodiversity through the promotion of ecological corridors and habitat connectivity (Rudd et al. 2002), as well as providing a refuge for native biodiversity (Goddard et al. 2010). Psychological benefits of green spaces increase with species richness (Fuller et al. 2007). Management strategies enhancing biological diversity (such as mosaics of habitat patches; Thwaites et al. 2005) and sense of place experiences in urban green space, could contribute to both human well-being and biodiversity conservation (Fig. 1). "
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    ABSTRACT: Assessing the cultural benefits provided by non-market ecosystem services can contribute previously unknown information to supplement conservation decision-making. The concept of sense of place embeds all dimensions of peoples’ perceptions and interpretations of the environment, such as attachment, identity or symbolic meaning, and has the potential to link social and ecological issues. This review contains: (1) an evaluation of the importance of sense of place as an ecosystem service; and (2) comprehensive discussion as to how incorporating sense of place in an evaluation can uncover potential benefits for both biodiversity conservation and human well-being. Sense of place provides physical and psychological benefits to people, and has neglected economic value. The biodiversity-related experiences are essential components of the service that need to be further explored. A conceptual framework was used to explore how the existing knowledge on sense of place derived from other fields can be used to inform conservation decision-making, but further research is needed to fill existing gaps in knowledge. This review contributes to a better understanding of the role biodiversity plays in human well-being, and should inform the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
    Environmental Conservation 09/2015; DOI:10.1017/S0376892915000314 · 2.37 Impact Factor
    • "There is, however, research in terrestrial contexts that has looked at the role of " biodiversity. " This research has shown that greater well-being outcomes (e.g., Dallimer et al., 2012; Fuller et al., 2007; Luck, Davidson, Boxall, & Smallbone, 2011) and aesthetic preferences (e.g., Lindemann-Matthies & Bose, 2007; Lindemann-Matthies, Junge, & Matthies, 2010) can be positively associated with higher species richness (e.g., plants, birds). However, a recent systematic review of studies researching the health and well-being benefits of " biodiverse " environments (Lovell, Wheeler, Higgins, Irvine, & Depledge, 2014) concluded that much of the evidence was weak and equivocal and that further research was required. "
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    ABSTRACT: Exposure to natural environments can have calming and stress-reducing effects on humans. Moreover, previous studies suggest that these benefits may be greater in areas with higher species richness. Our study took advantage of a “natural experiment” to examine people’s behavioral, physiological, and psychological reactions to increases in levels of marine biota in a large aquarium exhibit during three stages of restocking: Unstocked, Partially stocked, and Fully stocked. We found that increased biota levels were associated with longer spontaneous viewing of the exhibit, greater reductions in heart rate, greater increases in self-reported mood, and higher interest. We suggest that higher biota levels, even in managed settings, may be associated with important well-being and health benefits, particularly for individuals not able to access the natural analogues of managed environments.
    Environment and Behavior 07/2015; DOI:10.1177/0013916515597512 · 1.27 Impact Factor
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    • "Urban populations depend on rural areas to supply essential provisioning ecosystem services including food, fibres, wood and water, and it is often assumed that urban areas are unable to make any significant contribution to such services. However, urban greenspaces deliver a variety of supporting, regulating and cultural ecosystem services (Davies et al. 2011a; G omez-Baggethun et al. 2013; Nowak et al. 2013a), including high species richness (McKinney 2008), improved psychological well-being (Fuller et al. 2007), reduced stormwater run-off and air pollution interception (Saebø et al. 2012). Better management of urban *Correspondence author. "
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    ABSTRACT: 1.The capacity of urban areas to deliver provisioning ecosystem services is commonly overlooked and underutilized. Urban populations have globally increased five-fold since 1950, they disproportionately consume ecosystem services and contribute to carbon emissions, highlighting the need to increase urban sustainability and reduce environmental impacts of urban dwellers. Here we investigated the potential for increasing carbon sequestration, and biomass fuel production, by planting trees and short-rotation coppice (SRC) respectively, in a mid-sized UK city as a contribution to meeting national commitments to reduce CO2 emissions.2.Iterative GIS models were developed using high resolution spatial data. The models were applied to patches of public and privately owned urban greenspace suitable for planting trees and SRC, across the 73 km2 area of the city of Leicester. We modelled tree planting with a species-mix based on the existing tree populations, and SRC with willow and poplar to calculate biomass production in new trees, and carbon sequestration into harvested biomass over 25 years.3.An area of 11 km2 comprising 15% of the city, met criteria for tree planting and had the potential over 25 years to sequester 4200 tonnes of carbon above-ground. Of this area, 5.8 km2 also met criteria for SRC planting and over the same period this could yield 71 800 tonnes of carbon in harvested biomass.4.The harvested biomass could supply energy to over 1566 domestic homes or 30 municipal buildings, resulting in avoided carbon emissions of 29 236 tonnes of carbon over 25 years when compared to heating by natural gas. Together with the net carbon sequestration into trees, a total reduction of 33 419 tonnes of carbon in the atmosphere could be achieved in 25 years by combined SRC and tree planting across the city.5.Synthesis and applications. We demonstrate that urban greenspaces in a typical UK city are underutilized for provisioning ecosystem services by trees and especially short-rotation coppice (SRC), which has high biomass production potential. For urban greenspace management we recommend that planting SRC in urban areas can contribute to reducing food–fuel conflicts on agricultural land and produce renewable energy sources close to centres of population and demand.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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