At the end of a dry, dry summer, we have fewer healthy trees than we did in June here in Cambridge. Green Cambridge has sprouted Cambridge Trees to reach out to citizens and the city to address the threat to the city’s trees. Why are trees important in the city? Trees contribute to healthy air quality; their shade reduces the need for air conditioning in summer. A healthy urban forest has been correlated with better health amongst city residents.
Radio Lab Podcast on Trees:
Trees affect mental health in positive ways:
Spending time around trees and looking at trees reduces stress, lowers blood pressure and improves mood. Numerous studies show that both exercising in forests and simply sitting looking at the trees reduce blood pressure as well as the stress-related hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Looking at pictures of trees has a similar, but less dramatic, effect. Studies examining the same activities in urban, unplanted areas showed no reduction of stress-related effects. Using the Profile of Mood States test, researchers found that forest bathing trips significantly decreased the scores for anxiety, depression, anger, confusion and fatigue. And because stress inhibits the immune system, the stress-reduction benefits of forests are further magnified.
Learn more about trees and human health, here.
Learn more about Cambridge’s urban forest, here.