Image: Prunus armeniaca; Source: www.botanikus.de
Spring is like an act of release: the temperature rises, the first songbirds return from their winter exiles and start singing, and spring flowers burst into bloom. One has the feeeling that both nature and mankind are breathing a sigh of relief. Even people who are not generally interested in nature start talking about it. With the long-awaited arrival of spring the cultural value of biological diversity becomes particularly evident. Nature is one of the most important factors influencing our health: winter depression vanishes and a feeling of well-being spreads. The sun alone could not possibly produce these effects. So what exactly causes this sense of relief? What kind of nature is involved and why?
Prof. Petra Lindmann-Matthies, a biologist at the Karlsruhe Teacher Training Institute, is studying the public’s perception of biological diversity and its aesthetic significance: “The species-rich areas have always been the most popular, even among six-year-olds”, she states in an interview to Biodiversity Germany. “Our studies have found specific evidence that human beings value biological diversity.”
However, she also discovered that diversity is often wrongly defined and that there is little knowledge about biodiversity. This could be the reason why inusfficient attention is being paid to the creeping loss of biodiversity. In general terms, Prof. Lindmann-Matthies' findings are comforting, in the sense that biological diversity is present in everybody’s mind, though in most cases only subconsciously.
"Those who don't understand biodiversity and are unable to perceive it are similarly incapable of recognizing it's creeping loss."