Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Who Knew ? Trees are not only Good to Inspire You, They are Necessary for Your Health and Well Being

Credit: Me!
Gunnebo Estate in Göteborg Sweden where I visited last Spring. Evidence indicates how important trees are in the environment and to human health. Who knew that euphoric feeling you get when you surround yourself within such an environment was actually good for you and not just your imagination ? Of course this is nothing new and no one needs any science report to convince them of the truth of this fact. However, earlier in 2011 the online journal Science Daily had an article titled:
Green Environments Essential for Human Health, Research Shows
Now newer research as reported by the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station suggests that Trees and Human health go hand in hand. Funny, this is something gardeners and landscapers have known all along. There is no doubt that more study is needed as to some of the mechanical components of just how all of this works, but clearly people in such a healthy forested or at least vegetative environment health-wise fair much better. When I look at some cities around the globe that are jam packed with human beings and the total lack of any type of vegetation and the misery suffered in those areas for various reasons, it makes you wonder the "What If ?" or "Who Knew ?" questions!

Credit: Dan Herms Ohio State University
A tree lined street in Toledo, Ohio in 2006,
 before emerald ash borer infestation

Credit Dan Herms Ohio State University

Three years later in 2009, after the invasive
 spread to the neighborhood.

The Relationship Between Trees and Human Health Evidence from the Spread of the Emerald Ash Borer

Portland, Oregon January 16, 2013. 
Evidence is increasing from multiple scientific fields that exposure to the natural environment can improve human health. In a new study by the U.S. Forest Service, the presence of trees was associated with human health. 
For Geoffrey Donovan, a research forester at the Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station, and his colleagues, the loss of 100 million trees in the eastern and midwestern United States was an unprecedented opportunity to study the impact of a major change in natural environment on human health. 
In an analysis of 18 years of data from 1,296 counties in 15 states, researchers found that Americans living in areas infested by the emerald ash borer, a beetle that kills ash trees, suffered from an additional 15,000 deaths from Cardiovascular disease and 6,000 more deaths from lower respiratory disease when compared to uninfected areas. When emerald ash borer comes into a community, city streets lined with ash trees become treeless. 
The researchers analyzed demographic, human mortality, and forest health data at the county level between 1990 and 2007. The data came from counties in states with at least one confirmed case of emerald ash borer in 2010. The findings -- which hold true after accounting for the influence of demographic differences, like income, race, and education -- are published in the current issue of American Journal of Preventative Medicine. 
"There's a natural tendency to see our findings and conclude that, surely, the higher mortality rates are because of some confounding variable, like income or education, and not the loss of trees," said Donovan, "But we saw the same pattern repeated over and over in counties with very different demographic makeups." 
Although the study shows association between loss of trees and human mortality from cardiovascular and lower respiratory disease, it did not prove a causal link. The reason for the association is yet to be determined. 
The emerald ash borer was first discovered near Detroit, Michigan, in 2002. The borer attacks all 22 species of North american ash and kills virtually all of the trees it infests. - The study was conducted in collaboration with David Butry, with National Institute of Standards and Technology; Yvonne Michael, with Drexel University; and Jeffrey Prestemon, Andrew Liebold, Demetrios Gatziolis, and Megam Mao, with the Forest Service's Southern, Northern, and Pacific Northwest Research Stations."
(SOURCE): Tree and human health may be linked Contact: Jeffrey Donovan, (503) 808-2043,

Media Assistance: Yasmeen Sands, (360) 753-7716,


  1. It makes sense to me! Maybe someone should tell the foresters that believe cutting trees down is the way to make a healthy forest.

    1. I would imagine much of that Bug infestation is back your way as well.

  2. It's interesting that when I need to decompress, I head for the mountains and trees! We have over 40 trees on our property where we live...1 cottonwood, several eucalyptus, many acacias, and 1 mesquites. We also have 2 orange trees and 3 desert willows! Our trees shade the house in summer, thus lowering our electricity bill! :-)

    1. I can't wait to get to my mum's house and manicure her California Sycamores and all the other shrubs. I'm so looking forward to heat again. Booked my ticket today for two months. EXCITED!

  3. I never doubted this:) We just had another epic freeze here in Tucson. Love trees and the benefits they bring to gardens and landscapes everywhere. Plus it's good for the environment, people, wildlife, and homes. What's not to love?:)

    1. Looking forward to coming out in April. Booked my ticket today. WooHoo!

      In Tucson the Desert Plants are also a healthy environment. It increases with the arrival of the monsoons.

  4. And in ABQ, they keep planting riparian trees (including ash), so they are even more stressed to pests like that ash borer. And man do people dislike me exposing their continued denial... Good points and contrasting pic. If we could get more people to plant what likes it here, and in a full diversity...and not turn Abq into a forest, which will always die. Maybe in a century they will catch on?


Thanks for visiting and for your comments!

I will try to respond to each comment within a few days, though sometimes I take longer if I'm too busy which appears to be increasing.