If Biodiversity Rose, Would Anybody Notice?

Conservation Magazine:

Many people say they’d like to see more biodiversity in their city parks and gardens. But a study suggests that when new species do appear, urbanites remain oblivious to the improvements.

The researchers conducted their experiments at 14 public gardens in Paris, each roughly 1 hectare. In some of the gardens, the team took steps to increase biodiversity such as turning lawns into flowerbeds, sowing seeds, planting starflower to draw pollinators, encouraging the growth of plants that support butterflies, and adding nest boxes for birds.

The researchers then surveyed the gardens to see if biodiversity had actually improved. They recorded bird sightings and sounds, captured butterflies, and took pictures of flowers. The team also interviewed 1,116 people who regularly visited the gardens to find out whether they valued biodiversity and had noticed the changes.

If one person benefits, then the cost-benefit is worth it.