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Human Engagement with Forest Environments: Implications for Physical and Mental Health and Wellbeing

  • Simon Bell
  • Catharine Ward Thompson
Part of the Forestry Sciences book series (FOSC, volume 81)

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 wellbeing. 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 or 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.

Keywords

Green Space Urban Forest Forest Environment Outdoor Recreation Forest Management Activity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Edinburgh College of ArtEdinburgh UniversityEdinburghUK

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