Health benefits of nature experience: Psychological, social and cultural processes

Terry Hartig*, Agnes E. Van Den Berg, Caroline M. Hagerhall, Marek Tomalak, Nicole Bauer, Ralf Hansmann, Ann Ojala, Efi Syngollitou, Giuseppe Carrus, Ann Van Herzele, Simon Bell, Marie Therese Camilleri Podesta, Grete Waaseth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In this chapter we consider how experiences of nature can affect human health and well-being. We first address the matter of 'what has been'; that is, we sketch the development of theory and research concerned with health benefits of natural environments, from ancient times to the current situation. This shows the current research to be a recent expression of a number of long-running, intertwined, social and cultural processes. We then discuss 'where we are now'; that is, we overview current theories and related research concerning processes through which nature experience might provide health benefits. These processes concern environmental preferences, psychological restoration, and learning and personal development. Finally, we consider 'where we are going'; that is, we consider some additional directions for research and we identify some issues that research will have to address in the foreseeable future.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationForests, Trees and Human Health
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages42
ISBN (Print)9789048198054
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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