Forests and Human Health June-20-2012

Editor’s words

Human health is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease. It has been well documented in the literature that forests and human health interact in many ways. The importance of forests as a source of stress relief, aesthetic appreciation and recreation for the urbanized population has been acknowledged, but at the same time concern about the possible changes in forest cover due to climate change has increased. Studies which suggest a link between nature and forest experiences and human health have recently been utilized to establish green spaces or forest trails for stress relief and well-being. Because forest structure, visual qualities and the accessibility of forests may alter the health effects, more research is needed to point out the gaps in our knowledge concerning the design and management of green spaces to promote physical activity or therapeutic settings.

In this issue, we aim to introduce a few examples of recent research activities related to forests and human health, recreation and well-being in different parts of the world, and at the same time emphasize the role of international collaboration and networking between experts in this area.

By Dr. Tytti Sarjala

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