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Data: Avian cultural services peak in tropical wet forests

Cite this dataset

Echeverri, Alejandra et al. (2021). Data: Avian cultural services peak in tropical wet forests [Dataset]. Dryad.


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 (three 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 socio-cultural and ecological dimensions of biodiversity.


The datasets uploaded here were collected through a combination of social and ecological methods, including questionnaire surveys administered in person and online to birdwatchers, farmers, and urbanites in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Also avian point-count surveys alongside vegetation surveys in the field. Read the methods section in the publication and the supplementary information for more details.

Usage notes

We are uploading 8 data sets that refer to the ecological data, the social data, and basic physical parameters of the study area. Read the README file for a complete description of each dataset.

Questionnaire survey data is not complete in dryad and is available from the University of British Columbia and are stored in the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability following the guidelines of the Behavioural Research Ethics Board for researchers who meet the criteria for access to confidential data. Contact the authors for information regarding access. The social data stored here is already processed after conducting some analyses. Read the methods section in the publication for more details.


National Geographic Society, Award: G8PJ-437336-2012; RGPIN-2015-05105

National Geographic Society, Award: 435-2017-1071

National Geographic Society, Award: 9977-16; C335-16

US Forest Service, Award: 16-IJ-11242309-057

Killam Trusts, Award: Izaak Walton Killam Doctoral Fellowship

University of British Columbia, Award: Graduate Global Leadership Fellowship; Hesse Award in Ornithology