Echeverri, A., D.S. Karp, L.O. Frishkoff, J. Krishnan, R. Naidoo, J. Zhao, J. Zook and K.M.A. Chan “Avian cultural services peak in tropical wet forests.” Conservation Letters n/a(n/a): e12763. Doi: 10.1111/conl.12763
Abstract: The current biodiversity crisis involves major shifts in biological communities at local and regional scales. The consequences for Earth’s life-support systems are increasingly well-studied, but knowledge of how community shifts affect cultural services associated with wildlife lags behind. We integrated bird census data (3 years across 150 point-count locations) with questionnaire surveys (>400 people) to evaluate changes in culturally important species across climate and land-use gradients in Costa Rica. For farmers, urbanites, and birdwatchers alike, species valued for identity, bequest, birdwatching, acoustic aesthetics, and education were more likely to occupy wetter regions and forested sites, whereas disliked species tended to occupy drier and deforested sites. These results suggest that regional climate drying and habitat conversion in the Neotropics are likely to threaten the most culturally important bird species. This study provides a novel and generalizable pathway for assessing the effects of environmental changes on cultural services and integrating the sociocultural and ecological dimensions of biodiversity.