Unpacking the people-biodiversity paradox: A conceptual framework

Tristan J. Pett, Assaf Shwartz, Katherine N. Irvine, Martin Dallimer, Zoe G. Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Global phenomena, including urbanization, agricultural intensification, and biotic homogenization, have led to extensive ecosystem degradation, species extinctions, and, consequently, a reduction in biodiversity. However, although it is now widely asserted in the research, policy, and practice arenas that interacting with nature is fundamental to human health and well-being, there is a paucity of nuanced evidence characterizing how the living components of nature, biodiversity, play a role in this accepted truth. Understanding these human-biodiversity relationships is essential if the conservation agenda is to be aligned successfully with that of public health by policymakers and practitioners. Here, we show that an apparent "people-biodiversity paradox" is emerging from the literature, comprising a mismatch between (a) people's biodiversity preferences and how these inclinations relate to personal subjective well-being and (b) the limited ability of individuals to accurately perceive the biodiversity surrounding them. In addition, we present a conceptual framework for understanding the complexity underpinning human-biodiversity interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)576-583
Number of pages8
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • conservation biology
  • cultural ecosystem services
  • green space
  • human well-being
  • nature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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