Private gardens in a town immersed in a National Park: Potential for conservation and highly valued under COVID lockdown
ELIZALDE, LUCIANA; LAMBERTUCCI, SERGIO A.
LANDSCAPE AND URBAN PLANNING
ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
Lugar: Amsterdam; Año: 2022 vol. 266
Urbanization is increasing globally, with concomitant negative effects on biodiversity and human well-being. In urban areas, gardens may contribute to overall green space, bringing benefits to wildlife and residents. We used a community science approach to gather data and understand the role of urban gardens for wildlife and for residents in a developing country, where information on the subject is scarce. We evaluated how local characteristics and landscape quality influenced the presence of three native birds and two insect species as indicators of habitat conservation value, in a town immersed in an Argentinean National Park. We also estimated gardens? value during COVID-19 quarantine to assess whether owners appreciated them more when outdoor activities were not allowed, increasing awareness of the value of nature for well-being. We found that most respondents enjoy birdwatching in their gardens and consider birds as beneficial; however, the pleasure of observing insects is lower. The relevance of local garden characteristics differed according to the species in question, highlighting the importance of using different species as indicators to assess garden conservation value. The proportion of tree cover surrounding the gardens had a positive effect on the probability of finding birds and insects, while the proportion of built-up area had a negative effect. During COVID-19 lockdown, most respondents enjoyed their gardens equally or more than usual, and those that assigned a monetary value to gardens, chose the highest one. We encouraged initiatives that engage, inform and empower residents on wildlife-friendly gardening to favor the inclusion of gardens as part of wider conservation and urban planning strategies.