Examining connection to nature at multiple scales provides insights for urban conservation

New research into Melburnians’ connection to nature is helping the City of Melbourne understand how to engage its community members in conservation efforts.

The study, led by RMIT University in collaboration with the City of Melbourne and Queensland University of Technology, surveyed over 1,500 City of Melbourne residents and visitors on their connection to nature and found nearly 75% of respondents had a high connection to nature. 

More than 75% of respondents said they were concerned about climate change and the destruction of nature.

However, retirees and university students who have lived most of their lives in the Melbourne area had the lowest connection to nature.

The research also found residents who lived north of the Yarra River generally had a higher connection to nature compared to their southern counterparts, despite south-siders mostly living in areas with higher levels of tree canopy.

Project lead Dr Matthew Selinske from the Centre for Urban Research said more investigation was needed to unpack the reason for the north and south divide.

Selinske, M. J., Harrison, L., & Simmons, B. A. (2023). Examining connection to nature at multiple scales provides insights for urban conservation. Biological Conservation, 280. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2023.109984

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