Trees Increase How Healthy You Feel and How Healthy You Are

By: albertaarb - September 14, 2015

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A team of researchers used data from Toronto to discover that having 10 more trees on your block has self-reported health benefits akin to a $10,000 salary raise or moving to a neighbourhood with a $10,000 higher median income, or even being seven years younger.

Trees for Life

Using satellite imagery of Toronto, an inventory of trees on public land and general health surveys, the team, led by University of Chicago psychologist Marc Berman, found that people who live on a tree-lined block are less likely to report conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease or diabetes.

Their findings appeared last week in the open-access journal Scientific Reports. The study suggests “pretty strongly” that planting 4 per cent more trees would have significant health benefits, Berman said.

An extremely interesting finding is that street trees have a more beneficial effect than private or backyard trees. A possible explanation is that they are “more accessible to all residents in a given neighborhood,” the paper notes.

The Psychological Benefits of Trees

Previously, there have been several psychological studies that found that exposure to green plants reduces stress levels, especially in urban areas. Green areas allow the mind to rest, something that happens all too rarely today.

In the American Journal of Community Psychology, researchers Brogan and James write that plants contribute substantially to psychosocial health.

People have often overlooked the psychological importance of the environment, but this research has placed it front and centre. Unfortunately, we still don’t fully understand the mind, and research is continually on-going, and because the results are “correlational,” as scientists put it, they cannot definitively identify the precise mechanism by which trees seem to improve health.

However, there are some obvious possibilities, including improved air quality. Another possibility is that stress is reduced simply by having more greenery.

The Physical Benefits of Trees

However, there are also benefits in terms of physical health which are easier to explain. According to a new study by the US Forest Service, an estimated 670,000 cases of serious respiratory illness and 850 human deaths are avoided each year within the United States thanks to trees clearing out pollution and cleaning air. Dave Nowak of the US Forest Service’s Northern Research Station noted in a press release that:

“In terms of impacts on human health, trees in urban areas are substantially more important than rural trees due to their proximity to people.”

Want to Plant More Trees?

At Alberta Arborists we can help you enhance the beauty and aesthetic value of your property. We will determine the right tree and shrub species to match your needs. By selecting the right tree for the right location, we can help you ensure that your plant material will have a better chance in  living a long and healthy life. 

For more information about our tree planting services please do not hesitate to contact us.

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