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Note: This article is from Conservation Magazine, the precursor to Anthropocene Magazine. The full 14-year Conservation Magazine archive is now available here.

The Joy of Biodiversity

July 30, 2008

More biodiversity intensifies our emotional attachment to green spaces

We already knew that greenery was good for us, relieving stress and even speeding recovery times after surgery. But a new study in Biology Letters goes further by showing that greenery with more biodiversity is even better for us.

To gauge how biodiversity affects city-dwellers, researchers interviewed people in a variety of green spaces in Sheffield, U.K. The green spaces ranged from school grounds to botanical gardens to parks and had habitats including mown grass, woodland, and water.

The results showed that habitat and plant diversity made green spaces more conducive to reflection. For example, people were more likely to agree with statements such as “Coming here clears my head” when there were seven kinds of habitats instead of only two and when there were several hundred kinds of plants instead of only ten. The results also suggest that bird diversity intensified emotional attachment to green spaces. For example, people were more likely to agree with statements such as “This park feels almost like a part of me” when there were 30 kinds of birds instead of only five.

So even in the most metropolitan areas, our ties to nature remain strong.

Fuller, R.A. et al. 2007. Psychological benefits of greenspace increase with biodiversity. Biology Letters 3(4):390-394.

By Robin Meadows

photo © Paul Prescott/


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