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Article

Are Non-Perennial Rivers Considered as Valuable and Worthy of Conservation as Perennial Rivers?

1
Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
2
Department of Geography, University of the Balearic Islands, 07122 Palma, Spain
3
School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
4
School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(14), 5782; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145782
Received: 22 June 2020 / Revised: 14 July 2020 / Accepted: 15 July 2020 / Published: 17 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Socio-Ecological Systems Sustainability)
Non-perennial rivers, watercourses that cease to flow at some point in time and space, are widespread globally but often lack effective protections. Although it is thought that these ecosystems are undervalued by society, empirical studies exploring people’s perceptions of non-perennial rivers are uncommon. We carried out an image-based survey at three U.S. universities to measure students’ perception of riverscapes according to seven characteristics: aesthetics, naturalness, habitat for biodiversity, habitat for fish, need of human intervention, importance for human well-being, and conservation value. Our results showed that non-perennial rivers are generally considered less valuable and worthy of conservation than their perennial counterparts. Furthermore, several factors influenced peoples’ perception of non-perennial rivers, including where they live, their educational history, how often they visit rivers, their leisure activities, and whether they live close to a river. Our findings suggested the need to improve people’s perceptions of non-perennial rivers as a step toward increased protection for these ecosystems. This current challenge demands combined actions by researchers from diverse disciplines and professionals working from different perspectives, including policymakers and educators. View Full-Text
Keywords: conservation; dry riverbeds; education for sustainability; environmental perception; freshwater ecosystems; human dimensions; isolated pools; non-perennial rivers; socio-ecological systems; transdisciplinary research conservation; dry riverbeds; education for sustainability; environmental perception; freshwater ecosystems; human dimensions; isolated pools; non-perennial rivers; socio-ecological systems; transdisciplinary research
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MDPI and ACS Style

Rodríguez-Lozano, P.; Woelfle-Erskine, C.; Bogan, M.T.; Carlson, S.M. Are Non-Perennial Rivers Considered as Valuable and Worthy of Conservation as Perennial Rivers? Sustainability 2020, 12, 5782. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145782

AMA Style

Rodríguez-Lozano P, Woelfle-Erskine C, Bogan MT, Carlson SM. Are Non-Perennial Rivers Considered as Valuable and Worthy of Conservation as Perennial Rivers? Sustainability. 2020; 12(14):5782. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145782

Chicago/Turabian Style

Rodríguez-Lozano, Pablo, Cleo Woelfle-Erskine, Michael T. Bogan, and Stephanie M. Carlson. 2020. "Are Non-Perennial Rivers Considered as Valuable and Worthy of Conservation as Perennial Rivers?" Sustainability 12, no. 14: 5782. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145782

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