New study explores human-nature interactions in the Afrotropics

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The extinction of human experience with nature directly correlates to the urban invasion of green spaces and the extinction of natural species. As part of his PhD research, Head of IITA Forest Center, Adewale Awoyemi along with some researchers from the University of Granada, explored the interactions of humans with nature in the Afrotropics.

People have acclimatized to watching television, playing video games, and surfing the internet for leisure rather than hiking, camping, birdwatching, insect catching, and fishing for recreation. The study investigated the extinction of experience resulting from the loss of opportunities to experience nature which poses as a challenge to people’s physical and mental health. People’s alienation from nature also contributes to public health issues and environmental degradation.

The authors explored the gap in research data, covering the angle of human and nature connectedness, especially in the Global South. They analyzed data from 600 respondents in four southern Nigeria cities—Auchi, Calabar, Ibadan, and Lagos. Their main goal was to evaluate the level of disconnection between urban population and nature. Respondents, ranging from 14 to 72 years old, reported their frequency of contact with urban greenspaces, parks, and identified nature markers, such as flowers, birds, trees, beaches, mountains, and more. The authors also assessed the potential factors responsible for losing contact with nature, including income and time investment.

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