How Removing Trees Can Kill You

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Trees are good for your health:

There’s been some famous research showing that people recover faster from surgery and take fewer drugs if their hospital room has a view of trees. Other research — including some of my own — has shown that mothers with more trees around their homes are less likely to have underweight babies. It’s been shown that if you put people in a natural environment, it can reduce their blood pressure, heart rate and other measures of stress.

So removing trees can kill you:

The trees died first. One hundred million of them in the eastern and midwestern United States. The culprit: the emerald ash borer, a beetle that entered the U.S. through Detroit in 2002 and quickly spread to Iowa, New York, Virginia and nearly every state between. The bug attacks all 22 species of North American ash and kills nearly every tree it infests.

Then came the humans. In the 15 states infected with the bug starting, an additional 15,000 people died from cardiovascular disease and 6,000 more from lower respiratory disease compared with uninfected areas of the country.

A team of researchers with the U.S. Forest Services looked at data from 1,296 counties, accounted for the influence of other variables — things like income, race, and education — and came to a simple conclusion: Having fewer trees around may be bad for your health.


  1. Slovenian Guest says:

    Hooray then, as over half of Slovenian territory is covered by forest. Which makes us the third most forested country in Europe, after Finland and Sweden.

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