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Article

Nature’s Role in Supporting Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Geospatial and Socioecological Study

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Department of Landscape Architecture, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK
2
inVIVO Planetary Health of the Worldwide Universities Network, West New York, NJ 10704, USA
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The Healthy Urban Microbiome Initiative (HUMI), Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia
4
School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast BT9 5AG, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(5), 2227; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052227
Received: 5 January 2021 / Revised: 16 February 2021 / Accepted: 22 February 2021 / Published: 24 February 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about unprecedented changes to human lifestyles across the world. The virus and associated social restriction measures have been linked to an increase in mental health conditions. A considerable body of evidence shows that spending time in and engaging with nature can improve human health and wellbeing. Our study explores nature’s role in supporting health during the COVID-19 pandemic. We created web-based questionnaires with validated health instruments and conducted spatial analyses in a geographic information system (GIS). We collected data (n = 1184) on people’s patterns of nature exposure, associated health and wellbeing responses, and potential socioecological drivers such as relative deprivation, access to greenspaces, and land-cover greenness. The majority of responses came from England, UK (n = 993). We applied a range of statistical analyses including bootstrap-resampled correlations and binomial regression models, adjusting for several potential confounding factors. We found that respondents significantly changed their patterns of visiting nature as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. People spent more time in nature and visited nature more often during the pandemic. People generally visited nature for a health and wellbeing benefit and felt that nature helped them cope during the pandemic. Greater land-cover greenness within a 250 m radius around a respondent’s postcode was important in predicting higher levels of mental wellbeing. There were significantly more food-growing allotments within 100 and 250 m around respondents with high mental wellbeing scores. The need for a mutually-advantageous relationship between humans and the wider biotic community has never been more important. We must conserve, restore and design nature-centric environments to maintain resilient societies and promote planetary health. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; coronavirus; green space; planetary health; nature connectedness; public health; nature-based interventions COVID-19; coronavirus; green space; planetary health; nature connectedness; public health; nature-based interventions
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MDPI and ACS Style

Robinson, J.M.; Brindley, P.; Cameron, R.; MacCarthy, D.; Jorgensen, A. Nature’s Role in Supporting Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Geospatial and Socioecological Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 2227. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052227

AMA Style

Robinson JM, Brindley P, Cameron R, MacCarthy D, Jorgensen A. Nature’s Role in Supporting Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Geospatial and Socioecological Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(5):2227. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052227

Chicago/Turabian Style

Robinson, Jake M., Paul Brindley, Ross Cameron, Danielle MacCarthy, and Anna Jorgensen. 2021. "Nature’s Role in Supporting Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Geospatial and Socioecological Study" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 5: 2227. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052227

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