July 2013 Web Extra: A connection between tree loss and poor health

July 10, 2013 -  By

An improved natural environment leads to better health conditions, according to a study published earlier this year in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Seven researchers conducted a study to see if the loss of 100 million trees to the invasive forest pest Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) would negatively relate to cardiovascular and lower respiratory diseases.

Two fixed effects regression models were used to measure the presence of EAB and the county-level mortality. The data were collected from 1990 to 2007 and were analyzed in 2011 and 2012.

The results showed there was an additional 6,113 deaths related to lower respiratory system illness and 15,080 cardiovascular-related deaths. The magnitude of the effects was greater as the EAB infestation progressed and in counties with an above-average median household income.

The findings suggest that the loss of trees increased mortality-related illness and that the natural environment provides major health benefits.

About the Author:

Molly Bealin is a Cleveland-based contributor to Landscape Management magazine.

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