Article, Fall 2005: Urban Bird Diversity as an Indicator of Human Social Diversity and Economic Inequality

I'm unfamiliar with the statistical analytical method of redundancy analysis used in this paper, and the charts were unintelligible to me. But the underlying thesis is intriguing, and underscores the importance of protecting and expanding biological diversity in all environments, even - perhaps especially - urban ones. It's never too late to start making things better for living and future generations.
The unequal distribution of wealth in cities contributes to other forms of spatial, social, and biological inequities in complex, interacting, and self-reinforcing ways. ... Spatial variation in urban bird communities may also reflect socioeconomic variables and cultural differences among the human population. The purpose of this paper was to examine whether socioeconomic factors (such as mean family income and ethnic diversity) also relate to the diversity and abundance of birds in Vancouver, British Columbia. ... Results demonstrate that wealthier neighborhoods have more native species of birds and that these native species increase in abundance as the socioeconomic status of the neighborhood improves. With two-thirds of the world's population expected to live in cities by 2030, more and more people will grow up surrounded by a depauperate community of birds, and this could adversely affect the way people perceive, appreciate, and understand nature. Ultimately, as city birdlife diminishes and urban dwellers become dissociated from the natural diversity it represents, popular support for preserving and restoring such diversity may wane, allowing ecological conditions to further erode.

Stephanie J. Melles. Department of Zoology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5S 3G5
Urban Bird Diversity as an Indicator of Human Social Diversity and Economic Inequality in Vancouver, British Columbia
Urban Habitats, Volume 3, Number 1, Fall 2005

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