What is the role of trees and remnant vegetation in attracting people to urban parks?

Shanahan, D. F., Lin, B. B., Gaston, K. J., Bush, R. and Fuller, R. A. (2015) What is the role of trees and remnant vegetation in attracting people to urban parks?. Landscape Ecology, 30 1: 153-165. doi:10.1007/s10980-014-0113-0

Author Shanahan, D. F.
Lin, B. B.
Gaston, K. J.
Bush, R.
Fuller, R. A.
Title What is the role of trees and remnant vegetation in attracting people to urban parks?
Journal name Landscape Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1572-9761
Publication date 2015-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s10980-014-0113-0
Open Access Status
Volume 30
Issue 1
Start page 153
End page 165
Total pages 13
Place of publication Dordrecht Netherlands
Publisher Springer Netherlands
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Abstract Public parks commonly contain important habitat for urban biodiversity, and they also provide recreation opportunities for urban residents. However, the extent to which dual outcomes for recreation and conservation can be achieved in the same spaces remains unclear. We examine whether greater levels of (i) tree cover (i.e. park ‘greenness’) and (ii) native remnant vegetation cover (i.e. vegetation with high ecological value) attract or deter park visitors. This study is based on the park visitation behaviour of 670 survey respondents in Brisbane, Australia, detailing 1,090 individual visits to 324 urban parks. We first examined the presence of any clear revealed preferences for visiting parks with higher or lower levels of tree cover or remnant vegetation cover. We then examined the differences between each park visited by respondents and the park closest to their home, and used linear mixed models to identify socio-demographic groups who are more likely to travel further to visit parks with greater tree cover or remnant vegetation cover. Park visitation rates reflected the availability of parks, suggesting that people do not preferentially visit parks with greater vegetation cover despite the potential for improved nature-based experiences and greater wellbeing benefits. However, we discovered that people with a greater orientation towards nature (measured using the nature relatedness scale) tend to travel further for more vegetated parks. Our results suggest that to enhance recreational benefits from ecologically valuable spaces a range of social or educational interventions are required to enhance people’s connection to nature.
Keyword Urban green space
Nature relatedness scale
Tree cover
Remnant vegetation cover
Recreational ecosystem services
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online ahead of print 8 Nov 2014

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