Wildlife: a hidden treasure of green places in urbanized societies?
|PhD ceremony:||Ms A. Folmer|
|When:||October 13, 2016|
|Supervisor:||prof. dr. P.P.P. Huigen|
|Co-supervisor:||prof. dr. T. (Tialda) Haartsen|
|Where:||Academy building RUG|
In my thesis, I investigate how wildlife contributes to a bond with green places on different spatial scales among lay people in the Netherlands. The results show that wildlife matters in the bond with green places both near home, and further from home.
Among nature lovers, wildlife experiences confirm, rather than create, their bond with protected areas visited during daytrips and holidays. Enjoying nature is part of a nature lover’s lifestyle and thus, he or she takes the effort to seek wildlife encounters in green places further from home.
Near home, the presence of wildlife contributes to a higher valuation of, and a stronger affective bond with, green places among a more general public. Familiarity with everyday wildlife, and the embeddedness of wildlife experiences in an individual’s life course seem to be most important in shaping a bond with green places near home. Of all wildlife, birds seem to form a special, yet undervalued, dimension in affective bonds with green places.
Multisensory experiences of wildlife, and especially birds, can signify natural rhythms, can make an individual feel part of Panta Rhei, and can promote feelings of being connected with the world, rather than escaping it. Therefore, wildlife near home, as well as further from home, can be regarded as a hidden treasure of green places in urbanized societies like the Netherlands.