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Perceptions and Values of Nature

The world’s population is increasingly disconnected from nature, living in modified, human-dominated landscapes that are expanding at the cost of the natural environment and biodiversity. This is thought to lead to a cycle of disaffection whereby people become progressively less aware of the importance of natural ecosystems, the ecological processes that they perform and apathetic about their value. Referred to as the “extinction of experience”, this is analogous with the “shifting baselines syndrome” – where past experiences of the state of the environment shape people’s expectations.

The research aims to understand the factors which influence people’s connections with the natural world, and its significance for conservation. As it is though that without appreciation of their value, species and ecosystems are unlikely to receive adequate conservation protection.

Snaddon, Jake L., Turner, Edgar C. and Foster, William A. (2008) Children’s perceptions of rainforest biodiversity: which animals have the lion’s share of environmental awareness? PLoS ONE3(7)e2579(doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002579).

Snaddon, Jake L. and Turner, Edgar C. (2007) A child’s eye view of the insect world: perceptions of insect diversity. Environmental Conservation34(1) (doi:10.1017/S0376892907003669).