The effect of biodiversity on green space users' wellbeing-An empirical investigation using physiological evidence

Kaowen Grace Chang, William C. Sullivan, Ying Hsuan Lin, Weichia Su, Chun Yen Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Promoting ecological health and human wellbeing are two fundamental goals in landscape sustainability. Green spaces are thought to improve users' psychological and physical wellbeing through the contact with nature. However, the results of some studies that rely on self-reports suggest that when the level of naturalness in a green space reaches a certain point, the beneficial effects diminish and in some cases can cause negative responses. We explored this possibility through an experimental study in which we use physiological measures rather than perceptions to assess people's wellbeing. We investigate how people are affected by outdoor settings with varying degrees of biodiversity and whether the correlation between biodiversity and physiological wellbeing is negative or positive. We used multiple measures of insect diversity as an indicator for biodiversity, and biofeedback measures as indicators of wellbeing. Our findings suggest that people are equally affected by more biodiverse and less biodiverse settings. Physiological responses remain largely unchanged when biodiversity increases. This suggests that settings rich in biodiversity will not negatively influence people's physiological wellbeing, and designers and city planners should not hesitate to use ecological best practices in their designs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1049
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 19 2016


  • Biodiversity
  • Biofeedback
  • Conservation
  • Sustainability
  • Wellbeing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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