Forests, Trees and Human Health

pp 183-202


Health Benefits of Nature Experience: Implications of Practice for Research

  • Simon BellAffiliated withOpen Space Research Centre, Edinburgh College of ArtDepartment of Landscape Architecture, Estonian University of Life Sciences Email author 
  • , Ronald van ZonAffiliated withIndependent consultant
  • , Ann Van HerzeleAffiliated withEcosystem Services Group, Institute for Nature and Forest Research
  • , Terry HartigAffiliated withInstitute for Housing and Urban Research, Uppsala University

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This chapter takes the theories and applications discussed in the previous Chapters 5 and 6, and considers the implications for practice and research. It takes as a starting point the fact that practice in applying therapeutic benefits of access and exposure to nature is not simple and that the benefits can be obtained in a number of different ways. Moreover, a single area of green space may deliver many different benefits to different people in different ways. A scenario is used to demonstrate this. The other dimensions which affect therapeutic aspects concern the potential benefactors – their life stage, lifestyle and contextual factors. The issue of research and building up the evidence base is also considered, with project evaluation and action research being two of the most promising routes. This scene setting is then developed into a demonstration of some projects which apply knowledge about the benefits to health of green areas and which have been scientifically evaluated and the results of which can be used to improve practice in the future. In conclusion the chapter suggests that the accumulation of the evidence base is a cyclical process of practice based on current evidence followed by evaluation and modification of practice which is then evaluated and so on.