brown and orange bird on brown tree branch
Refereed Articles

The importance of species diversity for human well-being in Europe

Joel Methorst, Katrin Rehdanz, Thomas Müller, Bernd Hansjürgens, Aletta Bonn, Katrin Böhning-Gaese (2021),
Ecological Economics 181, 106917.

Nature influences human well-being in many ways. However, the relationship between biodiversity and human well-being is still largely unexplored. In this study, we investigate the relationship between biodiversity and human well-being in Europe. To do this, we linked and analysed socio-economic data from more than 26,000 European citizens from 26 countries with macro-ecological data on the biodiversity of different taxonomic groups (e.g. birds, mammals and trees) in Europe. Human well-being was measured as life satisfaction. Our results show that bird species richness is positively associated with life satisfaction across Europe. We found a relatively strong relationship, suggesting that the influence of bird species richness on life satisfaction may be similar to that of income. We discuss two non-exclusive mechanisms for this relationship: the direct multisensory experience of birds, and beneficial landscape characteristics that promote both bird diversity and human well-being. Based on these findings, this study argues that measures to protect birds and the landscapes that support them could benefit people.

Our authors

External authors

Katrin Rehdanz

Thomas Müller

Bernd Hansjürgens

Aletta Bonn

Katrin Böhning-Gaese