Fewer trees means we die sooner
Research forester Geoffrey Donovan links human health with exposure to the natural environment — and what happens in the absence of trees.
Wed, Jun 12, 2013 at 11:10 AM
From healing from grief through contact with nature to simply taking a walk to improve your health, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that contact with the natural world improves our well-being.
There’s a famous study, for example, that proves hospital patients recover better and take fewer drugs if they have a view of trees from their window.
If trees improve our health, then, it might be logical to assume that a lack of trees can directly damage our health. That was the hypothesis of Geoffrey Donovan, a research forester at the Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station. In a fascinating interview over at PBS, Donovan relates how he and a team of researchers have mapped out a clear correlation between communities that lost trees from the emerald ash borer and an increase in mortality rates from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.
“Well my basic hypothesis was that trees improve people's health. And if that's true, then killing 100 million of them in 10 years should have an effect. So if we take away these 100 million trees, does the health of humans suffer? We found that it does,” says Donovan
Read more of the interview with Donovan about trees and health.
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