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Article

Forest Area, CO2 Emission, and COVID-19 Case-Fatality Rate: A Worldwide Ecological Study Using Spatial Regression Analysis

by 1, 1,* and 2,3,*
1
Institute of Sports Science, College of Physical Education, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
2
Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Medical Sciences, Örebro University, 70182 Örebro, Sweden
3
Unit of Integrative Epidemiology, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, 17177 Stockholm, Sweden
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Alan Ewert and Jillisa Overholt
Forests 2022, 13(5), 736; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13050736
Received: 4 April 2022 / Revised: 5 May 2022 / Accepted: 7 May 2022 / Published: 9 May 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest and Other Natural Landscapes and Human Health)
Spatial analysis is essential to understand the spreading of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to numerous factors of multi-disciplines involved, the current pandemic is yet fully known. Hence, the current study aimed to expand the knowledge on the pandemic by exploring the roles of forests and CO2 emission in the COVID-19 case-fatality rate (CFR) at the global level. Data were captured on the forest coverage rate and CO2 emission per capita from 237 countries. Meanwhile, extra demographic and socioeconomic variables were also included to adjust for potential confounding. Associations between the forest coverage rate and CO2 emission per capita and the COVID-19 CFR were assessed using spatial regression analysis, and the results were further stratified by country income levels. Although no distinct association between the COVID-19 CFR and forest coverage rate or CO2 emission per capita was found worldwide, we found that a 10% increase in forest coverage rates was associated with a 2.37‰ (95%CI: 3.12, 1.62) decrease in COVID-19 CFRs in low-income countries; and a 10% increase in CO2 emission per capita was associated with a 0.94‰ (95%CI: 1.46, 0.42) decrease in COVID-19 CFRs in low-middle-income countries. Since a strong correlation was observed between the CO2 emission per capita and GDP per capita (r = 0.89), we replaced CO2 emission with GDP and obtained similar results. Our findings suggest a higher forest coverage may be a protective factor in low-income countries, which may be related to their low urbanization levels and high forest accessibilities. On the other hand, CO2 can be a surrogate of GDP, which may be a critical factor likely to decrease the COVID-19 CFR in lower-middle-income countries. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; forest; CO2; fatality; death; mortality; health; nature COVID-19; forest; CO2; fatality; death; mortality; health; nature
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MDPI and ACS Style

Li, H.; Zhang, G.; Cao, Y. Forest Area, CO2 Emission, and COVID-19 Case-Fatality Rate: A Worldwide Ecological Study Using Spatial Regression Analysis. Forests 2022, 13, 736. https://doi.org/10.3390/f13050736

AMA Style

Li H, Zhang G, Cao Y. Forest Area, CO2 Emission, and COVID-19 Case-Fatality Rate: A Worldwide Ecological Study Using Spatial Regression Analysis. Forests. 2022; 13(5):736. https://doi.org/10.3390/f13050736

Chicago/Turabian Style

Li, Hansen, Guodong Zhang, and Yang Cao. 2022. "Forest Area, CO2 Emission, and COVID-19 Case-Fatality Rate: A Worldwide Ecological Study Using Spatial Regression Analysis" Forests 13, no. 5: 736. https://doi.org/10.3390/f13050736

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