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Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 485; doi:10.3390/su9040485

Biocultural Homogenization in Urban Settings: Public Knowledge of Birds in City Parks of Santiago, Chile

1
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Escuela de Agronomía, casilla 4-D Quillota, Chile
2
Departamento de Ecología, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 8331150 Santiago, Chile
3
Centro de Genómica y Bioinformática, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Mayor, 8580745 Huechuraba, Chile
4
Instituto de Ecología y Biodiversidad (IEB), 7800003 Santiago, Chile
5
Laboratorio Internacional de Cambio Global (LINCGlobal), Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 8331150 Santiago, Chile
6
Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Millbrook, NY 12545, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Helmut Haberl
Received: 25 August 2016 / Revised: 13 March 2017 / Accepted: 20 March 2017 / Published: 24 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
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Abstract

An understudied consequence of growing urbanization is the rapid and concurrent loss of native biological and cultural diversity. Here, we measured the concordance between avian species richness in public green areas of the city of Santiago, Chile, and the corresponding knowledge of local citizens of this avian diversity. To assess this correspondence, we sampled avian species richness in 10 representative city parks and surveyed the awareness of avian diversity by park visitors as well as their ability to identify bird species. We found no significant relationship between estimated bird diversity from field sampling and their perception by park visitors, suggesting that visitors underestimate avian diversity in city parks because they perceive only a small fraction of the overall diversity, with their awareness especially biased towards the most abundant species. Exotic bird species comprise the majority of the latter group. This result was observed regardless of whether the city park had high or low bird diversity. Public knowledge of birds did not relate to the species richness present at city parks, and was strongly biased towards the most abundant, widely distributed, and primarily exotic species. This result agrees with the biocultural homogenization hypothesis, documenting the role of urban areas in this global process. View Full-Text
Keywords: biocultural homogenization; urban ecology; urban birds; socioecology; biotic homogenization biocultural homogenization; urban ecology; urban birds; socioecology; biotic homogenization
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Celis-Diez, J.L.; Muñoz, C.E.; Abades, S.; Marquet, P.A.; Armesto, J.J. Biocultural Homogenization in Urban Settings: Public Knowledge of Birds in City Parks of Santiago, Chile. Sustainability 2017, 9, 485.

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