January 18, 2013

Trees good for human health

A new scientific study reports something that poets and artists have been expressing for many centuries – that trees are good for people. The study shows, in particular, some very specific health benefits associated with the presence of trees. 

Cardiovascular and respiratory health issues have been identified as benefitting from the presence of trees. However, the study – published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine – does not try to explain why this may be, though it suggests some theories:

• Better air quality
• Stress reduction and buffering against stressful life events
• Increased physical activity
• Temperature moderation

What they know is that they saw the same pattern across over 1000 US counties in 15 different US states, even though these regions had very distinct demographic characteristics.
The figures are difficult to interpret in some ways. For instance, one could use them to argue that the absence of or removal of trees can be responsible for increasing mortality rates. Indirectly, too, moulds or beetles can influence the health of human population by damaging the local tree populations.



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