Urban parks and forests provide many services to society and are becoming essential components within urban landscapes worldwide. While substantial research and actions have been taken to understand various ecosystem services of urban forests and parks, significantly less effort has been made on people’s perceptions toward the effectiveness of these services. In addressing the above research needs, we conducted a field survey and hypothesized that an individual’s knowledge will lead to different pro-environmental behaviors in urban forests and parks. Using the Toledo, Ohio, USA as our study site, we collected 267 interviews from five of the area’s most frequented urban parks. A three-way ANOVA and two Partial Least Square Structural Equation Models quantified the causal relationship among demography, plant knowledge, environmental knowledge, and pro-environmental behaviors. We found that: (1) different levels of plant knowledge will have different influences on environmental behaviors; (2) pro-environmental behavioral models can be based on planned behaviors or habitual behaviors; and that (3) gender may not be an influential factor in determining pro-environmental behaviors. Environmental knowledge, especially plant knowledge, plays a key role in fostering pro-environmental behaviors. Therefore, we reason that disseminating plant knowledge education materials will profoundly raise visitors’ pro-environmental behaviors.
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