Through the eyes of children: perceptions of environmental change in tropical forests

Pellier, Anne-Sophie, Wells, Jessie A., Abram, Nicola K., Gaveau, David and Meijaard, Erik (2014) Through the eyes of children: perceptions of environmental change in tropical forests. PLoS One, 9 8: e103005.1-e103005.15. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0103005

Author Pellier, Anne-Sophie
Wells, Jessie A.
Abram, Nicola K.
Gaveau, David
Meijaard, Erik
Title Through the eyes of children: perceptions of environmental change in tropical forests
Journal name PLoS One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2014-08-05
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0103005
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 9
Issue 8
Start page e103005.1
End page e103005.15
Total pages 15
Place of publication San Francisco, CA, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Abstract This study seeks to understand children's perceptions of their present and future environments in the highly biodiverse and rapidly changing landscapes of Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. We analyzed drawings by children (target age 10-15 years) from 22 villages, which show how children perceive the present conditions of forests and wildlife surrounding their villages and how they expect conditions to change over the next 15 years. Analyses of picture elements and their relationships to current landscape variables indicate that children have a sophisticated understanding of their environment and how different environmental factors interact, either positively or negatively. Children appear to have landscape-dependent environmental perceptions, showing awareness of past environmental conditions and many aspects of recent trends, and translating these into predictions for future environmental conditions. The further removed their present landscape is from the originally forested one, the more environmental change they expect in the future, particularly declines in forest cover, rivers, animal diversity and increases in temperature and natural disasters. This suggests that loss of past perceptions and associated "shifting environmental baselines" do not feature strongly among children on Borneo, at least not for the perceptions we investigated here. Our findings that children have negative expectations of their future environmental conditions have important political implications. More than other generations, children have a stake in ensuring that future environmental conditions support their long-term well-being. Understanding what drives environmental views among children, and how they consider trade-offs between economic development and social and environmental change, should inform optimal policies on land use. Our study illuminates part of the complex interplay between perceptions of land cover and land use change. Capturing the views of children through artistic expressions provides a potentially powerful tool to influence public and political opinions, as well as a valuable approach for developing localized education and nature conservation programs.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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