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Human engagement with forest environments: implications for physical and mental health and wellbeing

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    Rights statement: © Bell, S., & Ward Thompson, C. (2013). Human Engagement with Forest Environments: Implications for Physical and Mental Health and Wellbeing. In T. Fenning (Ed.), Challenges and Opportunities for the World's Forests in the 21st Century. Springer Netherlands.

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http://www.springer.com/us/book/9789400770751
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChallenges and Opportunities for the World’s Forests in the 21st Century
EditorsTrevor Fenning
Place of PublicationDordrecht
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Pages71-92
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)978-94-007-7076-8
ISBN (Print)978-94-007-7075-1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Publication series

NameForestry Sciences
Volume81
ISSN (Print)0924-5480

Abstract

Humans have always had close relationships with forest but since 2005 most people live in cities or urbanised areas. This has profoundly shifted the kind of relationship people have with forests. Instead of being sources of utilitarian products, forests are increasingly valued for their benefits for physical and mental health and well-being. Different forest types, such as wilderness areas, managed production forests or urban forests offer different possibilities. Effects on the physical environment of urban areas, such as pollution reduction of temperature mitigation help to provide healthier places to live while the ability to see or to visit green areas close to home helps to reduce stress, to provide settings for relaxation, socialising and physical exercise and provides aesthetic pleasure. Much recent research has strengthened the evidence base for these benefits and public health policy in many Western countries is beginning to take the results seriously. However the research is focussed at present in Western countries, while the mega-cities with poorest environments are in developing countries. It is here that the gaps in research and the challenges for the future are to be found.

    Research areas

  • forest, society, health

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