Extinction of experience

Across much of the world people are undergoing a progressive loss of interactions with nature, termed the ‘extinction of experience’. This results from a combination of two sets of factors. First, for many people the opportunity for such interactions is declining as a consequence of increasing urbanization and decreasing biodiversity. Second, the orientation towards seeking nature interactions is declining as a consequence of shifting societal norms, particularly with the rise in alternative ways of spending time (e.g. through screen-based activities). We are working to develop a better understanding of the form, causes and consequences (including for human health and wellbeing, and support for biological conservation) of the extinction of experience, and ways in which it can most effectively be mitigated. Some have argued that resolving the loss of human interactions with nature is key to addressing the global biodiversity crisis. [Image from Shutterstock]

[Key ref: Soga, M. & Gaston, K.J. 2016. Extinction of experience: the loss of human-nature interactions. Frontiers Ecol. Environ. 14, 94-101; Soga, M., Gaston, K.J., Koyanagi, T.F., Kurisu, K. & Hanaki, K. 2016. Urban residents’ perceptions of neighbourhood nature: does the extinction of experience matter? Biol. Conserv. 203, 143-150; Soga, M., Yamaura, Y., Aikoh, T., Shoji, Y., Kubo, T. & Gaston, K.J. 2015. Reducing the extinction of experience: association between urban form and recreational use of public greenspace. Landscape Urban Plann. 143, 69-75].