Perception and Appreciation of Plant Biodiversity, An assessment of human perception and appreciation of plant biodiversity using photography of artificial plant communities
Anthropogenically caused global biodiversity declines and other human drivers point to the possibility of local plant diversity changes. The well-studied effects of local plant diversity on ecosystem processes implicate consequences to human well-being in the form of altered ecosystem services (including cultural services). Public awareness (knowledge and correct perception) about these changes and the valuation (including aesthetic appreciation) condition the importance and hence effort given to conservation, which is necessary in the face of biodiversity changes and their implications. This study explored the perception and appreciation of local plant species diversity with the use of an online questionnaire on artificial plant communities, displaying differences in α-diversity, β-diversity and evenness. To incorporate possible intrinsic human determinants on the perception and appreciation, the questionnaire was targeted at experts and lay-people in biology in two different countries and assessed more personal features of the respondents. The results show that the biodiversity category and the profession of the respondent significantly influence the ability to correctly assess the plant diversity displayed in standardized pictures, with α-diversity achieving a high success rate and evenness and β-diversity a low success rate. Appreciation was positively correlated to α-diversity. Furthermore a stronger correlation of appreciation to the perceived diversity than to the actual diversity was found. It demonstrates that plant biodiversity is valued per se, even though only species richness can be perceived correctly by the majority. The influence of profession implicates the increasing of knowledge in the public as a sensible target to facilitate conservation of plant species diversity.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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