The newly launched Healthy Trees, Healthy Lives website (https://healthytreeshealthylives.org/) is an excellent source of information on the health benefits of trees. The website was developed by the Southern Group of State Foresters Urban and Community Forestry Committee and funded through a Landscape Scale Restoration grant.
The Health Benefits section of the website divides 14 benefits into 4 categories: physical (skin, heart, lungs, pregnancies/newborns, comfort/heat reduction, nutrition, fitness), mental (peace of mind, vitality, brain), healing (fighting power, healing, health), and financial (healthcare savings). Each benefit is described in a sentence or two, and links to published research papers on each benefit are included.
There is also research library of published journal articles, a blog, and a Stories section on inspiring topics such as “Healthy Chesapeake: Planting Trees to Reduce Urban Heat Islands” and “Improving Forest Health through Education with Texas Forest Literacy Plan.” The Get Involved section provides “forest prescriptions” to a variety of audiences. For example, one prescription written for a municipality states, “to reduce mortality (particularly in women), ensure there is community greenspace within 0.15 mile of all residences.” A prescription aimed at an employer might read “to decrease the number of employee sick days, provide natural light exposure, outdoor access, and green views.”
The mission of the Healthy Trees, Healthy Lives movement is “to increase the collective understanding of our health being connected to our forests and to the trees in and around our communities. We are leading a social change in the United States, helping over time to significantly alter people’s behavioral patterns, cultural values and norms with an inherent understanding and appreciation of our own health being positively affected by trees and forests.”