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Ecología austral

On-line version ISSN 1667-782X


CAMPOS, Claudia M; NATES, Juliana  and  LINDEMANN-MATTHIES, Petra. Percepción y conocimiento de la biodiversidad por estudiantes urbanos y rurales de las tierras áridas del centro-oeste de Argentina. Ecol. austral [online]. 2013, vol.23, n.3, pp.174-183. ISSN 1667-782X.

Perception of and knowledge about biodiversity by urban and rural students of central-west drylands of Argentina: Arid and semiarid ecosystems of Mendoza and San Juan are currently undergoing severe degradation with the subsequent loss of biodiversity. In this scenario, diffusion and education about native biodiversity and its value are indispensable to the purposes of conservation. The present work reviews three previous studies conducted in the provinces of Mendoza and San Juan. This review attempts to refect the perceptions, knowledge and appreciation of urban and rural students about biodiversity, within the framework of studies conducted worldwide, and discusses the effect of educational interventions aimed at improving knowledge of and attitudes toward biodiversity. Studies fnd that, although the place of residence, sex and age of students affect their perception and knowledge of biodiversity, overall, children appreciate and know exotic species better than native ones and, just as in the rest of the world, they are familiar with pets, ornamental plants and charismatic mammals. Students learn about biodiversity from different sources; the initial contact of the youngest children with species is through the mass media and books. Children are scarcely familiar with local native species with conservation issues or with their evolutionary adaptations to arid regions. After a short educational intervention, changes in perceptions and knowledge are observed in the short term, but these are lost in the long term. We consider it important to increase efforts in schools, family, non-governmental organizations, etc., to improve knowledge and appreciation of native biodiversity through activities that are maintained over time and involve direct contact with nature.

Keywords : Appreciation; Attitudes; Native species; Exotic species.

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