A study claimed that people can get extra life satisfaction from living in areas with plenty of bird species.
The current coronavirus pandemic has raised interest in the outdoors. Many past small-scale studies suggested that exposure to nature is good for people’s mental health.
Experts from Germany cross-referenced survey reviewed data on the life satisfaction of thousands of adults from across Europe, with their exposure to nature. They concluded that having 14 new bird species in the local area gave as much satisfaction as an annual salary raise of £1,344 raise would to someone with an annual income of £13,380.
The findings, which were published in the journal Ecological Economics, discovered that the happiest Europeans are those who are exposed to numerous different bird species in their daily life, or who live in near-natural surroundings that are home to many species.
Joel Methorst, the paper author and ecologist at the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre, stated that Europeans are particularly satisfied with their lives if surrounded by a host of a high species diversity.
The researchers compared data on the reported quality of life of more than 26,000 adults from across Europe with the diversity of bird species in each subject’s local area. They also examined their socio-economic data.
Biologist Katrin Böhning-Gaese, the paper author and Director of the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre, added that they discovered avian diversity is as important for their life satisfaction as is their income.
Methorst pointed out that biological diversity is currently undergoing a dramatic decline, which poses the risk that human well-being will also suffer from an impoverished nature, adding that nature conservation therefore not only ensures our material basis of life, but it also constitutes an investment in the well-being of us all.
The team suggested that political and societal decision-making should consider the critical role of species diversity for human well-being.