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Monday, April 9 • 10:45am - 11:00am
PEOPLE AND LANDSCAPES: Can Urban Birds Have a Positive Effect on Neighborhoods Well-Being?

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AUTHORS: Abel Ayon*; Doctoral student, Urban Landscape Ecology Laboratory, University of North Carolina Charlotte; Sara A. Gagne, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of North Carolina Charlotte

ABSTRACT: Our natural environment is negatively affected by urbanization. Studies demonstrate that contact with nature have direct and indirect positive effects on psychological well-being. Therefore, urban dwellers may suffer from reduced psychological well-being due to, among other factors, a lack of exposure to nature. Our objective was to understand the effect of bird diversity on human psychological well-being in low- and high-income neighborhoods in Charlotte, NC. We predicted two possible outcomes. First, bird diversity could have a larger effect on well-being in low-income neighborhoods. This is because the people in this category are starting out at very low well-being, so biodiversity can make a large difference in their well-being. Second, bird diversity could have a smaller impact in low-income neighborhoods. This is because well-being in these neighborhoods may be much more strongly determined by socio-economic factors, which swamp the effect of bird diversity. We selected nine neighborhoods according to their income and vegetation cover. We interviewed 700 residents of the chosen neighborhoods from February to June 2016. We assessed psychological well-being using the Attentional Function Index (AFI) and the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS). For the case of AFI, the variables “managed land” and “abundance of birds” appeared as significant factors influencing on common daily activities. On the other hand, the VAS is influenced by the variable income. From May to July of 2015, we performed point counts to identify bird diversity. From our results, abundance is much higher on low-income neighborhoods with 3420 over 2790 in high-income neighborhoods. Overall, from the community of birds among neighborhoods, around 85% are equitably distributed. We conclude that nature can have a significant positive effect on the attention of common daily activities of dwellers in Charlotte and also this discovery can be very valuable for their well-being and incur into strategies of urban planning.

Monday April 9, 2018 10:45am - 11:00am CDT
LaSalle 2 (7th Floor)