Forests and Human Health June-25-2014

Selected Publications

 

Albers HJ, Robinson EJZ (2013) A review of the spatial economics of non-timber forest product extraction: implications for policy. Ecological Economics. 92: 87-95.

Patterns of forest cover and forest degradation determine the size and types of ecosystem services forests provide. Particularly in low-income countries, nontimber forest product (NTFP) extraction by rural people, which provides important resources and income to the rural poor, contributes to the level and pattern of forest degradation. Although recent policy, particularly in Africa, emphasizes forest degradation, relatively little research describes the spatial aspects of NTFP collection that lead to spatial degradation patterns. This paper reviews both the spatial empirical work on NTFP extraction and related forest degradation patterns, as well as spatial models of the behaviour of rural people who extract NTFPs from the forest. Despite the impact of rural people's behaviour on resulting quantities and patterns of forest resources, spatial–temporal models/patterns rarely inform park siting and sizing decisions, econometric assessments of park effectiveness, development projects to support conservation or REDD protocols. Using the literature review as a lens, we discuss the models' implications for these policies with particular emphasis on effective conservation spending and leakage.

Tidball KG, Krasny ME (eds). (2014) Greening in the red zone: disaster, resilience and community greening. Dordrecht, Springer Netherlands.

Creation and access to green spaces promotes individual human health, especially in therapeutic contexts among those suffering traumatic events. But what of the role of access to green spaces and the act of creating and caring for such places in promoting social health and wellbeing? Greening in the Red Zone asserts that the creation and access to green spaces confers resilience and recovery in systems disrupted by violent conflict or disaster. This edited volume provides evidence for this assertion through cases and examples. The contributors to this volume use a variety of research and policy frameworks to explore how creation and access to green spaces in extreme situations might contribute to the resistance, recovery, and resilience of social-ecological systems. This book takes important steps in advancing the understanding of what makes communities bounce back from disaster or violent conflict. The authors’ findings that creating and caring for green spaces contributes positively to recovery and resilience add to the toolkit of those working in disaster and conflict zones. This edited volume provides unique and novel approaches from a participatory, transparent, ecosystem-based perspective that puts those affected by disasters and conflict into positions of empowerment rather than weakness and dependency.

Korpela  K, Borodulin K, Neuvonen M, Paronen O, Tyrväinen L (2014) Analyzing the mediators between nature-based outdoor recreation and emotional well-being. Journal of Environmental Psychology 37(C): 1-7.

This study was conducted by Finnish research groups. This article concerns the relative importance of physical activity, restorative experiences, and social interaction as mediators between exposure to nature and wellbeing have been inconsistent. This study took a sample of 3060 Finnish people (38.3% response rate) aged 15–74 years who participated in a survey using an internet and a mail questionnaire.  The results revealed an association between the self-reported participation in nature-based recreation and emotional wellbeing through restorative experiences when adjusting for age, gender, household income, the level of leisure time physical activity and the frequency of active transportation.  

Jakobsdottir et al. (2014) Effects of Soluble and Insoluble Fractions from Bilberries, Black Currants, and Raspberries on Short-Chain Fatty Acid Formation, Anthocyanin Excretion, and Cholesterol in Rats. J. Agric. Food Chem. 62 (19): 4359–4368.

This study was conducted by Swedish research groups, which related to the functional components in forest berries. The authors investigated whether soluble and insoluble fractions isolated from bilberry, blackcurrant and raspberry affect the formation of short-chain fatty acids, the uptake and excretion of flavonoids, and levels of cholesterol differently. They found that short-chain fatty acid pools were higher in rats fed the soluble rather than the insoluble fractions, whereas higher concentrations of butyric acid were found in the distal colon and serum of rats fed the insoluble fractions. The soluble bilberry fraction gave lower amounts of liver cholesterol than the other berry fractions, formed the highest amount of short-chain fatty acids and contributed to the highest intake of anthocyanins. Cyanidin-3-glucoside monoglucuronide was detected in the urine of all groups, whereas anthocyanins were found only in groups fed soluble blackcurrant and raspberry.

Shackleton CM, Pandey AK (2014) Positioning non-timber forest products on the development agenda. Forest Policy and Economics. 38:1-7.

This article discussed a very challenging issue about the application of non-timber forest products. Natural environments are important resources for bioprospecting, but their inherent value is not always understood in policy development. This article describes why this is so, what important roles that natural environments play for sustainability as well as resources for human communities, and suggests some guidelines to overcome historical deficiencies in management policies and national and international development strategies. Although the authors have focused on non-timber forest resources, the visibility of all natural resources and entire ecosystems must be increased and policy decisions must be significantly influenced for the health of both nature and human populations.

Feenet et al. (2014) Mushrooms and health summit proceedings. The Journal of Nutrition. Doi: 10.3945/jn.114.190728.

This article summarizes the Mushrooms and Health Summit in Washington, DC, on 9–10 September 2013 and includes many new results related to mushrooms and human health. Mushrooms have long been regarded as health-promoting foods. Research specific to their role in a healthful diet and in health promotion has advanced in the past decade. Mushrooms are fungi, set apart by vitamin B-12 in a very low quantity but in the same form found in meat, ergosterol converted with UV light to vitamin D2, and conjugated linoleic acid. Mushrooms are a rare source of ergothioneine as well as selenium, fibre and several other vitamins and minerals. Some preclinical and clinical studies suggest the impacts of mushrooms on cognition, weight management, oral health and cancer risk. Preliminary evidence suggests that mushrooms may support healthy immune and inflammatory responses through interaction with the gut microbiota, enhancing the development of adaptive immunity and improved immune cell functionality. In addition to imparting direct nutritional and health benefits, analysis of U.S. food intake survey data reveals that mushrooms are associated with higher dietary quality. Also, early sensory research suggests that mushrooms blended with meats and lower sodium dishes are well liked and may help to reduce intakes of red meat and salt without compromising taste. As research progresses on the specific health effects of mushrooms, there is a need for effective communication efforts to leverage mushrooms to improve overall dietary quality.

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