Trees and Human Health
Increasingly we are seeing studies that show the alarming link between tree health (specifically ash tree health) and human health. While previous studies existed they were often observational and unable to account for correlating causes. A recent study, published in November 2017 and carried out in US counties in which Emerald Ash Borer is present, showed more than 15,000 extra deaths from cardiovascular disease and over 6,000 from lower respiratory disease. The study took place in counties where large numbers of ash trees were removed following emerald ash borer infestation (after allowing for other influencing factors).
“This study examined whether the spread of the emerald ash borer is associated with increased mortality related to cardiovascular and lower-respiratory-tract illness. These two types of health issues were chosen because they are the fırst and third most common causes of death in the U.S. and there are plausible mechanisms linking these types of deaths with trees. Specifically, the natural environment has been shown to decrease stress, increase physical activity, and improve air quality. In turn, stress, lack of physical activity, and poor air quality have been linked with cardiovascular and lower- respiratory-tract disease”
With our woods and forests under ever increasing threat from the rapid spread of pests and diseases, we need to act now to implement measures that will protect against this spread not only for the health of our forests, but for our own sake as well.
The Relationship Between Trees and Human Health (PDF Download Available).