Forest, Trees, Human Health and Wellbeing

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Urban Forestry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2024) | Viewed by 44088

Special Issue Editors


E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of People and Society, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 234 22 Lomma, Alnarp, Sweden
Interests: nature-based interventions; lakes/sea shores; forest bathing; adventure therapy; nature- and animal-assisted interventions; landscape planning and architecture; evidence based health design; public health and nature; environmental psychology; urban agriculture; nature-based Integration; social interactions
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Dept. of People and Society, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), P.O.Box 190, 234 22 Lomma, Sweden
Interests: landscape architecture; health design; public health; rehabilitation; therapeutic use of natural environments; coping resources
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Dept. of People and Society, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), P.O.Box 190, 234 22 Lomma, Sweden
Interests: human–nature relations; health-promoting qualities in outdoor environments; forests and wellbeing; urban green spaces
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

Forest and trees are essential not only for their ecological and economical values, but also for human health and wellbeing. There can be psychological, physiological and social benefits from both direct and indirect contact. However, there is a need to gain a deeper understanding and gather evidence for how these complex interactions can support people’s needs. This Special Issue presents up-to-date research on how forests and trees can support people’s health and wellbeing through prevention, promotion or interventions. It aims to gather systematic reviews and meta-analyses on the topic, study protocols, theoretical and/or conceptual papers as well as empirical studies. Included studies may be qualitative or quantitative and focused on physiological or psychological measures. The study design may vary from randomized controlled trials, longitudinal studies, case studies and evaluation of best practices. Papers can focus on how forest environments or trees can support affordances, activities or experiences in support of human health and wellbeing. The papers can explore these topics from both the perspective of the individual or from a broader societal perspective. However, the focus of this Special Issue will be on health-promoting mechanisms that are mediated via the direct perception or interaction with trees and forest environments, rather than on purely physically mediated effects.

Prof. Dr. Anna Maria Palsdottir
Prof. Dr. Patrik Grahn
Dr. Jonathan Stoltz
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Forests is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • health and wellbeing
  • forest planning
  • green infrastructure
  • restoration
  • stress reduction
  • biodiversity
  • landscape perception
  • nature connectedness
  • forest bathing
  • forest guiding
  • forest therapy
  • public health
  • urban forest
  • shinrin-yoku

Published Papers (22 papers)

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18 pages, 1400 KiB  
Article
Forests for Health Promotion: Future Developments of Salutogenic Properties in Managed Boreal Forests
by Jonathan Stoltz, Daniel Burgas, Maria Potterf, Rémi Duflot, Kyle Eyvindson, Birgit M. Probst, Astor Toraño-Caicoya, Mikko Mönkkönen, Mats Gyllin, Patrik Grahn and Tord Snäll
Forests 2024, 15(6), 969; https://doi.org/10.3390/f15060969 - 31 May 2024
Viewed by 370
Abstract
Visits to forests can improve human health and well-being through various mechanisms. They can support the immune system, promote physical activity, and restore stress and attention fatigue. Questions remain about how perceived qualities in forests important to support such salutogenic, i.e. health-promoting, benefits [...] Read more.
Visits to forests can improve human health and well-being through various mechanisms. They can support the immune system, promote physical activity, and restore stress and attention fatigue. Questions remain about how perceived qualities in forests important to support such salutogenic, i.e. health-promoting, benefits can be represented in forest simulation tools to allow quantitative analyses, e.g., long-term projections or trade-off analyses with other forest functions, such as biodiversity conservation, wood production, etc. Questions also remain about how different forest management regimes might impact such perceived qualities in forests. Here, we defined three types of salutogenic forest characteristics (SFCs), referred to as Deep, Spacious, and Mixed forest characteristics, respectively. We did so by using the perceived sensory dimension (PSD) model, which describes and interrelates more fundamental perceived qualities of recreational outdoor environments that are important to support people’s health and well-being. We identified proxy variables for the selected PSD models in boreal forest stands and compared the effect of five different management regimes on both individual PSD models and the derived SFCs when projecting a forest landscape 100 years into the future. Our results suggest combinations of protection (set-aside) and variations of continuous cover forestry as the most promising strategies to achieve these salutogenic properties in the long-term future. Depending on the SFC in focus and the specific management regime used, between 20% and 50% of the landscape could support associated properties in the long term (100 years). This might impact how forests should be managed when salutogenic outcomes are considered alongside, e.g., wood production and other forest contributions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Trees, Human Health and Wellbeing)
21 pages, 13095 KiB  
Article
An Exploration of the Physiological and Psychological Aspects of Student Anxiety Using a Greenspace Restorative Environment Based on Virtual Reality: A Controlled Experiment in Nanjing College
by Ruhui Zhao, Yuhang Xu, Tianyu Xia, Hongyi Li, Bing Zhao and Wei Wei
Forests 2024, 15(1), 196; https://doi.org/10.3390/f15010196 - 18 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1158
Abstract
Psychological anxiety among college students has attracted research interest. Previous studies have shown that greenspaces play a positive role in the recovery of student health. However, limited studies have explored the benefits of restorative environmental greenspace components. Therefore, this study used virtual reality [...] Read more.
Psychological anxiety among college students has attracted research interest. Previous studies have shown that greenspaces play a positive role in the recovery of student health. However, limited studies have explored the benefits of restorative environmental greenspace components. Therefore, this study used virtual reality to conduct control variable experiments. Considering the terrain scene, pavement material, and green vision rate as research elements, we monitored the skin conductance level and heart rate variability of 36 college students, as well as the positive and negative affect schedule and perceptual recovery scales, and we found that terrain elements have a significant impact on perceptual recovery, while pavement material has a significant impact on physiological recovery. Significant differences in perceptual recovery scores and changes in negative emotions among the different green vision levels were also observed. According to the regression relationship, the scene’s attractiveness rating was the highest when the scene’s green vision rate was 50%, while at 48%, the positive emotional improvement was the highest, and at 40%, the negative emotional improvement was the greatest. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Trees, Human Health and Wellbeing)
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21 pages, 18369 KiB  
Article
Study on the Comprehensive Health Effects of Coastal Green Areas in Qingdao City, China
by Xiushan Leng, Di Kong, Zhiwen Gao, Kai Wang, Yu Zhang, Chunyu Li and Hong Liang
Forests 2023, 14(12), 2463; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14122463 - 18 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1185
Abstract
The recuperation factors (negative air ion concentration, airborne particulate matter, human comfort index, and acoustic environment index) of coastal green spaces have significant health effects. Most current studies focus on the distribution pattern of single recuperation factors in the forest environment; however, the [...] Read more.
The recuperation factors (negative air ion concentration, airborne particulate matter, human comfort index, and acoustic environment index) of coastal green spaces have significant health effects. Most current studies focus on the distribution pattern of single recuperation factors in the forest environment; however, the comprehensive health effects of coastal green spaces are still unknown. To address this, we analyzed the distribution patterns of single and comprehensive health factors in different landscape configurations, landscape compositions, and coastal distances by principal component analysis and systematic clustering. The results show that: (1) coniferous and broadleaf mixed forests exhibit higher integrated health benefits than other landscape compositions; (2) closed and partially closed landscape configurations exhibit enhanced potential for promoting health benefits as opposed to partially open and open spaces; (3) a coastal distance of 150–300 m offers the strongest comprehensive health benefits. These findings collectively suggest that the increased cultivation of closed and partially closed mixed coniferous and broadleaf forest species at a distance of 150–300 m could effectively provide higher comprehensive health effects. Our study complements the ecosystem service of coastal green areas, especially in coastal health ecological services, providing support for coastal rehabilitation landscape planning; and can help to guide tourists in scheduling coastal health activities scientifically. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Trees, Human Health and Wellbeing)
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19 pages, 8320 KiB  
Article
White Spaces Unveiled: Investigating the Restorative Potential of Environmentally Perceived Characteristics in Urban Parks during Winter
by Yu Bao, Ming Gao, Chunli Zhao and Xudan Zhou
Forests 2023, 14(12), 2329; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14122329 - 28 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1116
Abstract
Creating attractive urban green spaces in severely cold and harsh climates is significant for promoting peoples’ health and perceived restoration. However, there is little evidence regarding the urban green spaces in wintery and cold climates and its restorative benefits. This study utilized a [...] Read more.
Creating attractive urban green spaces in severely cold and harsh climates is significant for promoting peoples’ health and perceived restoration. However, there is little evidence regarding the urban green spaces in wintery and cold climates and its restorative benefits. This study utilized a pixel grid approach to quantify winter landscape characteristics and a self-reporting method to assess the restorative benefits of audiovisual interactions. The results show the following: (1) Different types of roads in urban parks have significant differences in their level of restorativeness, and the restorativeness benefits of the primary path in winter parks are the strongest. (2) The presence of snowy elements in winter landscapes can enhance park users’ potential to experience restorative characteristics in relation to “being away”. Moreover, there exists a noteworthy positive correlation between deciduous trees and their restoration benefits. (3) People’s perceptions of the tranquility of the soundscape and the duration of environmental exposure are critical mediators in the impact of the restorative path effect. (4) Compared with women, men have a higher restorative level in both the landscape and soundscape. This elucidates the restorative role of white space landscapes and soundscapes in public psychological perception when proposing appropriate forest-based healthcare strategies. It also provides theoretical guidance and optimization schemes for the overall planning, health planning, and design of white spaces shaped by cold urban green spaces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Trees, Human Health and Wellbeing)
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20 pages, 4544 KiB  
Article
The Ecological Healthcare Benefits and Influences of Plant Communities in Urban Wetland Parks
by Huijun Feng, Jing An, Haoyun Wang, Xiongyi Miao, Guangbing Yang, Hongbo Feng, Yuxiang Wu and Xuyang Ma
Forests 2023, 14(11), 2257; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14112257 - 16 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1191
Abstract
Plant communities in urban wetland parks (UWP) have significant eco-healthcare benefits in terms of regulating the climate and improving the human living environment. However, factors influencing the regulation of eco-healthcare benefits are unclear. Taking Huaxi Ten Mile Beach National Urban Wetland Park as [...] Read more.
Plant communities in urban wetland parks (UWP) have significant eco-healthcare benefits in terms of regulating the climate and improving the human living environment. However, factors influencing the regulation of eco-healthcare benefits are unclear. Taking Huaxi Ten Mile Beach National Urban Wetland Park as an example, the urban wetland park comprehensive healthcare index (UPCHI) was constructed based on an outdoor survey and indoor analysis to evaluate the UWP’s eco-healthcare benefits. Pathway analysis was used to investigate how climatic, geographic, and plant factors interact to affect the UPCHI. The results show that, over the whole year, tree–shrub–herb showed the best performance in terms of reducing PM2.5, PM10, and noise, as well as raising negative air ion concentrations; however, human comfort performed the worst. The UPCHI was generally beyond level Ⅲ (0.49–0.58) in the spring and summer, indicating that there are eco-healthcare benefits. Overall, the deciduous tree–shrub–herb community had the highest annual mean UPCHI, and more than half of the plant communities’ eco-healthcare benefits were class Ⅱ, which is very beneficial for eco-healthcare. The main direct factors on UPCHI were illumination intensity (0.68) and tree height (0.90), while canopy height (0.64–0.59) and tree crown radius/canopy height (0.72–0.14) directly or indirectly influenced UPCHI. The distance from the edge of the mountain (−0.39–−0.322) had a direct negative, but minor, effect on UPCHI. This study will assist residents with selecting suitable times and places for wetland recreation and healthcare activities, and it offers a valuable reference for the future planning and design of UWP plant communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Trees, Human Health and Wellbeing)
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14 pages, 3360 KiB  
Article
Utilizing SIFT-MS and GC-MS for Phytoncide Assessment in Phytotron: Implications for Indoor Forest Healing Programs
by Yeji Choi, Geonwoo Kim, Soojin Kim, Jae Hyoung Cho and Sujin Park
Forests 2023, 14(11), 2235; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14112235 - 13 Nov 2023
Viewed by 4739
Abstract
This study addresses the growing need for phytoncide studies, driven by the demand to design indoor forest healing programs, including virtual reality experiences, for patients unable to visit actual forests. Previous studies have struggled to establish consistent phytoncide emission patterns in outdoor forest [...] Read more.
This study addresses the growing need for phytoncide studies, driven by the demand to design indoor forest healing programs, including virtual reality experiences, for patients unable to visit actual forests. Previous studies have struggled to establish consistent phytoncide emission patterns in outdoor forest environments owing to varying microclimates and abiotic factors. In addition, the traditional gas chromatography–mass spectroscopy (GC-MS) method presents field measurement challenges, whereas the selected ion flow tube (SIFT)-MS method offers improved efficiency. This study concentrated on a controlled phytotron environment and compared the GC-MS and SIFT-MS findings, revealing similar emission trends with slightly higher SIFT-MS concentrations. Daily phytoncide emissions fluctuated with light intensity and abiotic stressors. Both methods consistently detected pinenes, primarily emitted by Pinus strobus L. seedlings, in the phytotron. Statistical analysis confirmed the compatibility between GC-MS and SIFT-MS results, supporting the use of SIFT-MS for forest phytoncide assessment. In the second phase, the phytoncide emissions were assessed indoors, outdoors, and in the phytotron, highlighting the superiority of the phytotron under controlled conditions. Despite certain limitations, this study underscores the value of phytotron-based measurements for indoor forest healing programs and the potential adoption of SIFT-MS in future field-based phytoncide research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Trees, Human Health and Wellbeing)
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22 pages, 4601 KiB  
Article
How Does the Urban Forest Environment Affect the Psychological Restoration of Residents? A Natural Experiment in Environmental Perception from Beijing
by Sixian Li, Tianyu Chen, Feiying Chen and Feng Mi
Forests 2023, 14(10), 1986; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14101986 - 2 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1510
Abstract
The urban forest is not only an essential part of maintaining the security of the urban ecosystem but also an important restorative environmental site that benefits the physical and mental health of residents. In this research, a natural experiment was designed in Beijing [...] Read more.
The urban forest is not only an essential part of maintaining the security of the urban ecosystem but also an important restorative environmental site that benefits the physical and mental health of residents. In this research, a natural experiment was designed in Beijing in order to evaluate the urban forest environment in terms of visual, auditory, and olfactory senses, and the effects of psychosocial restoration in urban forest environments were tested. On this basis, a Partial Least Squares-Structural Equation Model was structured to verify the “environment-perception-restoration mechanism”. The findings showed that the urban forest environment was the main cause of the differences in residents’ psychological restoration and the natural environment perception, while the natural environment perception directly impacted residents’ psychological restoration and mediated the relationship between the urban forest environment and psychological restoration. Therefore, Beijing needs to further optimize the landscape, sound, smell, and other environmental elements of urban forests and create a peaceful and spacious urban forest open space, considering the environmental perception preferences of urban residents, to improve the psychological restoration effect of urban forests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Trees, Human Health and Wellbeing)
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19 pages, 4051 KiB  
Article
Seasonal Variation in the Thermal Environment and Health-Related Factors in Two Clustered Recreational Bamboo Forests
by Haixiong Tang, Qin Yang, Mingyan Jiang, Tianxing Wang, Xi Li, Qibing Chen, Zhenghua Luo and Bingyang Lv
Forests 2023, 14(9), 1894; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14091894 - 18 Sep 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1007
Abstract
Forest thermal environments and health-related factors have a significant impact on user experience and physical benefits. Therefore, it is important to study changes in the thermal environment and health-related factors in recreational forests. Clustered bamboo forests have unique structures featuring high canopy density [...] Read more.
Forest thermal environments and health-related factors have a significant impact on user experience and physical benefits. Therefore, it is important to study changes in the thermal environment and health-related factors in recreational forests. Clustered bamboo forests have unique structures featuring high canopy density and extensive understory spaces suitable for recreational activities. However, there is no relevant report on the recreational use of these forests. This study investigated seasonal characteristics in the thermal comfort and health-related factors in two clustered bamboo forests in Southwest China. Microenvironmental parameters and health-related factors (negative air oxygen ions (NAI), airborne particulate matter, airborne microorganisms, and biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs)) were measured in four seasons. The microenvironmental parameters were converted into a physiological equivalent temperature (PET) for each period. The results showed that (1) most of the time, the thermal comfort, air particle, NAI, and bacteria concentrations in the two bamboo forests were superior to the controls and met the standard for recreational activities; (2) thermal comfort environments and health-related factors levels varied between two bamboo forests; and (3) the most abundant compounds in the two bamboo forests in each season were leaf alcohol and 2-hexenal. The two clustered bamboo forests provided a comfortable thermal environment and had clean air and bactericidal abilities in all seasons. The forests emitted BVOCs with fresh grass and leaf fragrances, helping to alleviate the sense of depression among visitors. The results confirm that clustered bamboo forests can provide suitable recreational conditions. The results can be used to guide the management of recreational forests and provide support for the development of bamboo forests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Trees, Human Health and Wellbeing)
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18 pages, 1847 KiB  
Article
Does Soundscape Perception Affect Health Benefits, as Mediated by Restorative Perception?
by Yujie Zhu, Nan Huang, Yuxi Weng, Huanran Tong, Xinyi Wang, Jiaxin Chen, Jing Liu, Ziyi Chen, Jianwen Dong and Minhua Wang
Forests 2023, 14(9), 1798; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14091798 - 3 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1692
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to investigate the connection between the soundscape of a forest park, restorative perception, and health benefits. In order to assess sound source perception, soundscape perception, restorative perception, and health benefits, 10 forest park environments in Fuzhou National [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the connection between the soundscape of a forest park, restorative perception, and health benefits. In order to assess sound source perception, soundscape perception, restorative perception, and health benefits, 10 forest park environments in Fuzhou National Forest Park were chosen for sound walks. Correlation analysis, structural equation modeling, and mediating effects were used to analyze the relationships between the variables. The results showed that (1) the majority of natural sounds, like birdsong, had a positive correlation with soundscape perception with respect to being perceived as pleasant, harmonious, varied, and fluctuating; however, human-related and traffic noises had a negative correlation with perceptions of being pleasant and harmonious, and a positive correlation with perceptions of roughness. (2) The sound of running water and wind-blown leaves had strong favorable connections with emotional, cognitive, and behavioral restorative perceptions. The sound of birdsong was strongly correlated with restorative perceptions regarding emotional dimensions. The sound of wind held substantial favorable associations with emotional and cognitive restorative perceptions. Natural sounds, except for the sound of cicada chirping, had positive correlations with health benefits. The associations between human-related and mechanical sounds and restorative perception and health benefits were not statistically significant. (3) Soundscape pleasantness had a significant positive effect on restorative perceptions, and restorative perceptions had a significant positive effect on health benefits. The effect of soundscape pleasantness on health benefits was fully communicated through restorative perceptions. The annoyingness of a soundscape had no effect on restorative perception or health benefits. In the future, forest recreation activities based on soundscape perception could be carried out through the considered use of natural soundscape resources to promote health benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Trees, Human Health and Wellbeing)
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14 pages, 28475 KiB  
Article
Restorative Environment Characteristics of an Urban Forest Based on Big Data Analytics
by Jinhae Chae, Jaemin Park and Seonghak Kim
Forests 2023, 14(9), 1770; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14091770 - 31 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1139
Abstract
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, urban forests have become important restorative environmental spaces for which demand-customized management based on users’ experiences is needed. We collected 21,557 data points from blogs from January 2020 to December 2021. For data analysis, keyword frequency, term frequency–inverse document [...] Read more.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, urban forests have become important restorative environmental spaces for which demand-customized management based on users’ experiences is needed. We collected 21,557 data points from blogs from January 2020 to December 2021. For data analysis, keyword frequency, term frequency–inverse document frequency, and sentiment analyses were conducted using TEXTOM 4.0, and a semantic linkage network was established and analyzed using Gephi 0.92. In the analyses, the restorative environment components of “being away”, “fascination”, “extent”, and “compatibility” were derived from users’ experiences. Fascination, which stems from natural objects such as rocks, valleys, and trails, was derived the most frequently, and being away and compatibility, representing leisure activities such as climbing and walking, formed the largest cluster in cluster analysis. Sentiment analysis revealed a high positive word rate of 91.6%, with favorable feelings accounting for 87.5%, whereas the proportion of joy and interest (12.5%) was relatively low. In addition, this study showed that hard fascinations such as sports, entertainment, and education are required to improve the experience quality in urban forests as restorative environments. Hence, the necessity of local government policies and projects is emphasized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Trees, Human Health and Wellbeing)
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12 pages, 3083 KiB  
Article
Benefits of Adopting Wild Pedagogies in University Education
by Sally Krigstin, Jenna Cardoso, Mukesh Kayadapuram and Mazie Likun Wang
Forests 2023, 14(7), 1375; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14071375 - 5 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1355
Abstract
Several studies have demonstrated the positive impact of wild pedagogies on the well-being and learning of primary learners. However, wild pedagogies in higher education remain relatively obscure. This study assesses whether wild pedagogies affect the wellness of university students and analyzes the outcomes [...] Read more.
Several studies have demonstrated the positive impact of wild pedagogies on the well-being and learning of primary learners. However, wild pedagogies in higher education remain relatively obscure. This study assesses whether wild pedagogies affect the wellness of university students and analyzes the outcomes of the natural learning experiences in a higher education setting. As such, we use the roBERTa model to evaluate the sentiment score and thematic content to analyze 167 reflective essays on conducted natural learning experiences by undergraduate engineering students from a large Canadian public university. Our findings indicate that wild pedagogies benefit the wellness of university students and provide positive learning experiences. Moreover, positive natural learning experiences motivate students to develop environmental consciousness and sentimental connections with nature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Trees, Human Health and Wellbeing)
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28 pages, 1529 KiB  
Article
Evaluating Household Welfare in Participation of China’s Natural Forest Protection Program: A Dual Perspective of Income Welfare and Material Welfare
by Bo Cao, Hongge Zhu, Zhenhuan Chen, Zhijie Song, Xianqiao Huang and Bo Yu
Forests 2023, 14(6), 1140; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14061140 - 31 May 2023
Viewed by 1342
Abstract
This paper presents novel empirical evidence on the welfare impacts of forest protection programs, focusing on both income and material welfare at the household level. Specifically, we conduct a household survey of 1271 households in forestry communities that participate in the Natural Forest [...] Read more.
This paper presents novel empirical evidence on the welfare impacts of forest protection programs, focusing on both income and material welfare at the household level. Specifically, we conduct a household survey of 1271 households in forestry communities that participate in the Natural Forest Protection Program (NFPP) in China. The survey data are collected from 56 state forest enterprises (SFEs) across three provinces in China. We employ the Alkire–Foster method to calculate and decompose the material deprivation index based on household income levels. Our analysis reveals that forestry communities exhibit a significant proportion of households in low-income welfare states, comprising nearly one-fourth (25.41%) of the sample. Furthermore, we observe that the percentage of households in a low-material welfare state is nearly one-fifth (21.70%), with 7.79% of households experiencing both low-income and low-material welfare. Importantly, we find that welfare disparities persist across population subgroups based on occupation and geography. In addition, we assess the impact of the NFPP on household welfare outcomes and identify an elite group of technicians residing in urban communities down the hill who experience positive welfare effects from the program. These findings provide critical insights beyond a single welfare dimension and contribute to the growing literature on evaluating forest protection policies. Furthermore, the results offer valuable lessons for designing and implementing forest protection programs in other developing countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Trees, Human Health and Wellbeing)
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16 pages, 14252 KiB  
Article
Furnishing a Recreational Forest—Findings from the Hallerwald Case Study
by Renate Cervinka, Markus Schwab Spletzer and Daniela Haluza
Forests 2023, 14(4), 836; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14040836 - 19 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1343
Abstract
While the beneficial effects of forests on health and well-being are broadly investigated, little is known on the restorative effects of forest infrastructure. Thus, this study assessed the perceptions of installing furniture in a recreational forest in forest visitors. We surveyed 220 volunteers [...] Read more.
While the beneficial effects of forests on health and well-being are broadly investigated, little is known on the restorative effects of forest infrastructure. Thus, this study assessed the perceptions of installing furniture in a recreational forest in forest visitors. We surveyed 220 volunteers attending guided walks before (n = 99) and after (n = 121) furnishing the Hallerwald. The questionnaire assessed restorative qualities of four places in the forest before and after furnishing, and changes in visitors’ self-perceptions pre and post visiting the forest for 2.5 h. Further, visitors evaluated the furniture and the visit. The four sites in the forest under study benefited differently from furnishing. We found mixed outcomes with respect to the restorative qualities of places by furnishing, and a similar improvement of human restoration pre- and post-walk, irrespective of furnishing, but received mainly positive ratings for the installed furniture. The participants expected positive effects of visiting the forest to last one to two days. Our findings suggest that furnishing the forest made this forest a unique place for pedagogy, health interventions, and tourism. We concluded that furnishing, designed to fit the characteristics of a specific place, can support health and well-being in restorative forests and should be recognized by sustainable forest management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Trees, Human Health and Wellbeing)
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21 pages, 1222 KiB  
Article
Underlying Mechanisms of Urban Green Areas’ Influence on Residents’ Health—A Case Study from Belgrade, Serbia
by Isidora Simović, Jelena Tomićević Dubljević, Oliver Tošković, Maja Vujčić Trkulja and Ivana Živojinović
Forests 2023, 14(4), 765; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14040765 - 7 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1930
Abstract
The positive impacts of urban forests on residents’ health are widely acknowledged. However, the methods used to quantify and demonstrate this relation are still a focus of research. The aim of the paper is to examine the relationship between the size and quality [...] Read more.
The positive impacts of urban forests on residents’ health are widely acknowledged. However, the methods used to quantify and demonstrate this relation are still a focus of research. The aim of the paper is to examine the relationship between the size and quality of different urban green areas to residents’ health based on the face-to-face survey and remote sensing data at 12 locations in Belgrade. The socio-economic and self-perceived health characteristics were analyzed. Based on green areas’ size and pollution, municipalities were divided into “less green” and “green”. Vegetation quality was assessed by Sentinel-2 vegetation indexes (VI). Results show that residents in less green and green municipalities differ in physical, social, and emotional health. The quality of green areas was inversely proportional to the amount of money spent on medications and the number of doctor’s visits indicating potential mechanisms of the health benefits of green areas. The lack of facilities led to different appreciation among residents. Results suggest that the quality of green infrastructure is more important than the amount in promoting residents’ health. Relating the characteristics of green areas to visitors proved to improve the correlation between residents’ health and the quality of green areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Trees, Human Health and Wellbeing)
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18 pages, 1329 KiB  
Article
Impact of City Forests on Haze Reduction—Implementation of the National Forest City Policy in China
by Chao Hu, Jian Chen and Jiayun Dong
Forests 2023, 14(4), 703; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14040703 - 29 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1375
Abstract
The construction and development of China’s forest cities revolves around the goal of building an environmentally friendly society and achieving harmonious development between human beings and nature, which is essentially the implementation of the concept of green development and helps promote the sustainable [...] Read more.
The construction and development of China’s forest cities revolves around the goal of building an environmentally friendly society and achieving harmonious development between human beings and nature, which is essentially the implementation of the concept of green development and helps promote the sustainable development of sustainable cities. Based on the panel data of 263 prefecture-level cities in China from 2001 to 2020, the National Forest City Policy (NFCP) is used as a quasi-natural experiment to assess the effect of NFCP on haze pollution management and their heterogeneity using a time-varying DID (difference-in-differences) model, and a mediating effect model is used to analyze the mechanism of the effect of NFCP on haze pollution. The research found that (1) the NFCP can reduce urban haze pollution, and this finding remained robust after placebo tests and the replacement of explanatory variables; (2) the NFCP is more conducive to reducing haze pollution in the Pearl River Delta urban agglomeration, Type II large cities, cities in the eastern region, and cities east of the Hu Huanyong line; (3) the NFCP will improve urban green space coverage, raise residents’ awareness of environmental protection, and promote the development of tertiary industries, thereby promoting urban haze reduction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Trees, Human Health and Wellbeing)
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12 pages, 2781 KiB  
Article
Forests Attenuate Temperature and Air Pollution Discomfort in Montane Tourist Areas
by Elena Gottardini, Fabiana Cristofolini, Antonella Cristofori and Marco Ferretti
Forests 2023, 14(3), 545; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030545 - 10 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2460
Abstract
Forests deliver many ecosystem services, from provisioning to regulating and cultural services. We aimed at demonstrating microclimatic regulation and pollutant removal as especially relevant ecosystem services when considering the tourism vocation of the Alpine regions. A study was realized along an altitudinal gradient [...] Read more.
Forests deliver many ecosystem services, from provisioning to regulating and cultural services. We aimed at demonstrating microclimatic regulation and pollutant removal as especially relevant ecosystem services when considering the tourism vocation of the Alpine regions. A study was realized along an altitudinal gradient (900–1600 m a.s.l.) in Trentino, northern Italy, an area with high touristic presence (ca. 9.3 million overnight stays in summer 2021). Nitrogen dioxide (NO2, µg m−3), ozone (O3, µg m−3) concentrations, air temperature (T, °C), and relative humidity (RH, %) were simultaneously measured in three open-field sites (OF) and below-canopy Norway spruce forest stands (FO) during the period 23 May–7 August 2013. The temperature–humidity index (THI) was calculated. We found a distinct mitigating effect of forest on T, with lower maximum (−30.6%) and higher minimum values (+6.3%) in FO than in OF. THI supported a higher comfort sensation in FO than in OF, especially in the central part of the day. NO2 concentrations did not differ between OF and FO; ozone concentrations were lower in FO than OF. This study confirms the role of forests in providing several ecosystem services beneficial for forest users, especially relevant for promoting nature-based tourism in the Alpine region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Trees, Human Health and Wellbeing)
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20 pages, 2439 KiB  
Article
Usage of and Barriers to Green Spaces in Disadvantaged Neighborhoods: A Case Study in Shi Jiazhuang, Hebei Province, China
by Chenyang Dai, Sreetheran Maruthaveeran, Mohd Fairuz Shahidan and Yichun Chu
Forests 2023, 14(2), 435; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14020435 - 20 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2299
Abstract
Studies have shown that disadvantaged neighborhoods have fewer green spaces, resources, and facilities, resulting in residents facing more barriers to using green spaces. This study aims to quantify green space usage patterns and constraints in old residential neighborhoods in a large city in [...] Read more.
Studies have shown that disadvantaged neighborhoods have fewer green spaces, resources, and facilities, resulting in residents facing more barriers to using green spaces. This study aims to quantify green space usage patterns and constraints in old residential neighborhoods in a large city in northern China. A questionnaire survey and semi-structured interviews were conducted with 668 residents. Results showed that most residents visited their local green spaces daily, often in the evenings, and spent between 30 and 60 min there. The number of visits on weekends is higher than on weekdays, with no difference in visiting alone or in groups. The main reason for visiting green spaces was to relax and enjoy nature, followed by spending time with family. Limitations to usage included poor physical environments, such as inadequate facilities, lack of maintenance, overcrowding, poor accessibility, limited activities, and pet restrictions. This study provides insights into the current state of green space utilization in old residential neighborhoods, as well as a discussion of the limitations, which could inform future renovations and designs of green spaces in these areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Trees, Human Health and Wellbeing)
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22 pages, 12470 KiB  
Article
Landscape Preference Evaluation of Old Residential Neighbourhoods: A Case Study in Shi Jiazhuang, Hebei Province, China
by Chenyang Dai, Sreetheran Maruthaveeran, Mohd Fairuz Shahidan and Yichun Chu
Forests 2023, 14(2), 375; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14020375 - 13 Feb 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2161
Abstract
Landscape preference and cognition are essential in determining the external environment’s subjective reflections. Although much research has been conducted on landscape preferences, there is still a lack of information on landscape perceptions and preferences among residents of disadvantaged neighbourhoods, especially in Chinese cities. [...] Read more.
Landscape preference and cognition are essential in determining the external environment’s subjective reflections. Although much research has been conducted on landscape preferences, there is still a lack of information on landscape perceptions and preferences among residents of disadvantaged neighbourhoods, especially in Chinese cities. Taking old residential neighbourhoods of Shijiazhuang as an example, this paper used a large-scale questionnaire survey and semi-structured interviews to determine the landscape preference of the residents of old residential neighbourhoods for the community green spaces using the virtual model method. The chi-square test method is used to explore the inner logic of aesthetic preference from two aspects: landscape characteristics and socio-demographic characteristics. The respondents are 668 residents of old residential neighbourhoods (300 males, 368 females) distributed in four larger communities in the main urban area of Shijiazhuang. Random sampling and volunteer sampling were used to choose the survey respondents. The results showed this: (1) In terms of soft landscapes, respondents prefer natural planting, spaces with very high plant richness and high green coverage. In terms of hard landscapes, there is a preference for fitness and leisure facilities, rubber floors and a slight preference for water features and decorative landscape elements. (2) From the chi-square results, age significantly affects landscape preference, gender and education level. In contrast, marital status and occupation have no significant effect on landscape preference. The expression of the landscape preference of the residents of old residential neighbourhoods reflects the needs for functionality, reality and local concept. The main aim of this study is to fully understand the landscape preferences of residents in old residential neighbourhoods when using green space, and to find out what factors will affect residents’ landscape preferences. The research results have guiding significance for rationally improving the landscape planning, design and management of old residential neighbourhoods, and at the same time make up for the lack of international research on landscape preferences of disadvantaged communities. Improving the environment of old residential neighbourhoods can develop a higher sense of security, happiness and satisfaction among the residents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Trees, Human Health and Wellbeing)
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24 pages, 6628 KiB  
Article
The Influence of Forest Landscape Spaces on Physical and Mental Restoration and Preferences of Young Adults of Different Genders
by Zhi Zhang, Yanling Chen, Xinru Qiao, Weikang Zhang, Huan Meng, Yu Gao and Tong Zhang
Forests 2023, 14(1), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14010037 - 25 Dec 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2591
Abstract
Forest landscape spaces have positive effects on human physical and mental health. Meanwhile, gender is an important biological factor in differences in human physical and mental responses when facing stress. Therefore, it is necessary to discuss the gender characteristics and differences of people’s [...] Read more.
Forest landscape spaces have positive effects on human physical and mental health. Meanwhile, gender is an important biological factor in differences in human physical and mental responses when facing stress. Therefore, it is necessary to discuss the gender characteristics and differences of people’s experiences of restoration in forest landscapes. Meanwhile, it is urgent to attend to the issue of young adults’ physical and mental health. This study aimed to clarify the impact of forest landscape exposure on physical and mental restoration and preferences in young adults of different genders and to explore the relationship between them. Six representative forest landscape spaces found in field research in Liaoning were presented to participants through virtual reality (VR) video. Physiological indicators (blood pressure, heart rate, and pulse), mood indicators (simplified profile of mood states), and preference scores of young adults (n = 319) before and after viewing the forest landscape videos were collected. Analysis of differences and Spearman’s rho correlation analysis were used to statistically analyse the data. Our results indicated that overlook landscape space, static water landscape space, and coniferous forest landscape space had differential restorative effects on participants’ physical and mental health. Male and female participants had different preferences regarding the forest landscape spaces. Meanwhile, there were strong correlations between participants’ preferences and restorative effects. Our findings provide preliminary practical basis for forest landscape planning that corresponds to the health needs of tourists of different genders to achieve optimization of health benefits of urban forest resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Trees, Human Health and Wellbeing)
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19 pages, 3186 KiB  
Article
Attention and Emotion Recovery Effects of Urban Parks during COVID-19—Psychological Symptoms as Moderators
by Ziliang Jin, Jiangping Wang and Xu Liu
Forests 2022, 13(12), 2001; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13122001 - 25 Nov 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2048
Abstract
Previous research that compared the restorative effects of natural settings with poor-quality urban settings may have exaggerated the restorative benefits of greenspace. Few studies have been conducted to examine the restorative benefits of green streets and other types of park landscapes on attention [...] Read more.
Previous research that compared the restorative effects of natural settings with poor-quality urban settings may have exaggerated the restorative benefits of greenspace. Few studies have been conducted to examine the restorative benefits of green streets and other types of park landscapes on attention and emotion. In addition, it is not clear how negative psychological symptoms (e.g., stress, depression) affect natural’s restorative benefits, especially as the current COVID-19 pandemic has added to people’s psychological burden. In this study, 125 participants were randomly assigned to view one of five videos (green street, lawn, plaza, forest, waterside) for a break after completing an emotion and attention fatigue induction task. Attention function and emotion were measured using the backward digit span test and the Self-Assessment Manikin scale. Stress and depressive symptoms experienced over the last month were measured using the Perceived Stress Scale(PSS-10) and the Patient Health Questionnaire(PHQ-9). Our results indicate that the four park settings showed significant attention function recovery and valence improvement compared to the green streets, while subjects’ arousal changed only over time. Hardscapes (plazas) could provide the same attentional and emotional restorative benefits as natural landscapes (forests, watersides, lawns). In addition, we also found that the mood-improving benefits of natural environments may decrease with increasing depressive symptoms, although chronic stress symptoms did not show the same trend. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Trees, Human Health and Wellbeing)
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16 pages, 2857 KiB  
Article
Subjective Preference and Visual Attention to the Attributes of Ornamental Plants in Urban Green Space: An Eye-Tracking Study
by Junming Zheng, Yanzhen Huang, Yashan Chen, Lei Guan and Qunyue Liu
Forests 2022, 13(11), 1871; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13111871 - 9 Nov 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2000
Abstract
Visual attributes of greenery strongly affect the attention and preferences of people. We invited 90 volunteers to participate in a study on the subjective rating and eye tracking on the landscape attributes of greenery to determine the relationship between subjective preference and visual [...] Read more.
Visual attributes of greenery strongly affect the attention and preferences of people. We invited 90 volunteers to participate in a study on the subjective rating and eye tracking on the landscape attributes of greenery to determine the relationship between subjective preference and visual attention to the visual attributes of greenery. The results showed that the subjective ratings of Tree + shrub + grass (IV-A), blue flower (II-A), red flower (II-B), pink flower (II-C), broad-leaved tree (I-C), and bamboo (I-E) were relatively high, belonging to the high rating group. The random forest model showed that the fixation count could indicate a subjective preference. People generate visual attention by fixating on attractive visual attributes with high subjective ratings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Trees, Human Health and Wellbeing)
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Jump to: Research

12 pages, 4171 KiB  
Protocol
Forest Therapy for Women with Gynaecological Cancer—A Feasibility Study to Find New Alternatives in Cancer Rehabilitation
by Hanna Anundi, Ann Dolling and Anna María Pálsdóttir
Forests 2023, 14(2), 333; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14020333 - 7 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3464
Abstract
Cancer can have a significant impact on one’s life situation, with many patients reporting psychosocial discomfort, worry, anxiety, fear of recurrence, depression, tiredness/fatigue, sleep problems, pain and numerous other problems even long after active medical treatment. Psychosocial support during cancer rehabilitation has proven [...] Read more.
Cancer can have a significant impact on one’s life situation, with many patients reporting psychosocial discomfort, worry, anxiety, fear of recurrence, depression, tiredness/fatigue, sleep problems, pain and numerous other problems even long after active medical treatment. Psychosocial support during cancer rehabilitation has proven to be insufficient. In a recent debate article, the scientific committee of CancerRehabFund, Sweden, demands more rehabilitation alternatives for individuals living with cancer. Nature-based treatment is one of the alternatives mentioned as the way forward, but more research is needed. Therefore, we want to evaluate the patient’s experience of a ten-week forest bathing intervention, as an add-on to the standard care, and whether it can improve general health and well-being in women suffering or recovering from gynaecological cancer. The study will run between the autumn of 2022 and until the end of 2023. It is a prospective single-case study, including quantitative and qualitative approaches using validated self-administered instruments (pre–post measurements) and semi-structured interviews (post) on women’s lived experience of the 10-week forest bathing intervention. The quantitative outcome measurements will be the quality of life, fatigue and depression/anxiety. There will also be a questionnaire on perceived sensory dimensions experienced in the forest environment. The study will include 24 participants, divided into four groups of 6 participants. Once a week for ten weeks, the participants will be offered a session of a 2.5-hour stay in the forest with breathing exercises, slow movement, time in silence and privacy and a social gathering to conclude each session. Before and after each session, the participants will be invited to fill in the Profile of their mood state to describe their mood/feelings. There will be three different forest locations with varied forest cover types, i.e., evergreen, deciduous and mistands. Participation in this study will be voluntary, and all results will be anonymously presented on a group level. This paper is a protocol paper describing in detail the venues/forest sites, the forest therapy intervention and the scientific methodological approach for evaluating the ten-week intervention. To our knowledge, this is the first study on forest bathing for cancer survivors in Sweden. The Swedish Ethical Review Authority has approved the study [Dnr 2022-02083-01]. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Trees, Human Health and Wellbeing)
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