Biodiverse urban forests, happy people: experimental evidence linking perceived biodiversity, restoration, and emotional wellbeing

Article


Nghiem, T. P. L., Wong, K. L., Jeevanandam, L., Chang, C. C., Tan, L. Y. C., Goh, Y. and Carrasco, L. R.. 2021. "Biodiverse urban forests, happy people: experimental evidence linking perceived biodiversity, restoration, and emotional wellbeing." Urban Forestry and Urban Greening. 59, pp. 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ufug.2021.127030
Article Title

Biodiverse urban forests, happy people: experimental evidence linking perceived biodiversity, restoration, and emotional wellbeing

ERA Journal ID5693
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsNghiem, T. P. L. (Author), Wong, K. L. (Author), Jeevanandam, L. (Author), Chang, C. C. (Author), Tan, L. Y. C. (Author), Goh, Y. (Author) and Carrasco, L. R. (Author)
Journal TitleUrban Forestry and Urban Greening
Journal Citation59, pp. 1-8
Article Number127030
Number of Pages8
Year2021
Place of PublicationGermany
ISSN1610-8167
1618-8667
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ufug.2021.127030
Abstract

Here we investigate whether perceived biodiversity is linked to emotional wellbeing, taking into account the individual level of connection to nature, and whether such relationship is mediated by perceived restorativeness. We exposed participants to urban trails of different biodiversity levels and analysed the data using linear mixed-effects and structural equation models. Our results show that animal diversity and nature relatedness are positively linked to perceived restorativeness that, in turn, increases positive affect and decreases negative affect; thus suggesting that restoration mediates the effect of biodiversity on emotional wellbeing. We also found walk duration is linked to increased positive affect and reduced negative affect while crowdedness level in the trail has the opposite effect. Our results show an important link between urban biodiversity conservation and public mental health.

Keywordsurban parks, subjective wellbeing, environmental psychology, stress reduction theory, attention restoration theory
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020520399. Clinical and health psychology not elsewhere classified
520406. Sensory processes, perception and performance
419999. Other environmental sciences not elsewhere classified
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Byline AffiliationsNational University of Singapore
School of Psychology and Counselling
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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