ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202109.0484.v1
Subject: Biology, Ecology Keywords: analytical index; continental U.S.; Human Footprint; human perception; landscape modification; landscape transformation; systematic conservation planning
Online: 29 September 2021 (10:04:40 CEST)
We assessed how close human perceptions of landscape modification matched a multivariate index based on remotely sensed data of the same locations. Using a Human Footprint (HF) map of the continental U.S. (scaled 0-100), we created three series of aerial images, each with ten images distributed evenly across the 10 deciles of HF score. Using a web-based survey, 290 members of the global public ranked the images in one series based on their perception of the degree of human modification. Respondents also reported age, sex, and country. The degree of correspondence between rankings by respondents and by HF score was high, an average of 1.29 units of difference out of a maximum possible of 5.0. Differences among respondents were not explained by age, sex, or general geographic location. These results suggest that human perception of relative landscape modification conforms closely with the relative ranking made by a multivariate, analytical index.