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How are tree and human health related?

Not only has Emerald Ash Borer killed over 100 million trees across the Midwest, but it appears there is a link between these fallen trees and the health of people nearby.

According to a recent research study conducted by the US Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station’s Geoffrey Donovan, tree health may be related to human health more closely than previously thought.

The USFS website states, “A new study conducted by station research forester Geoffrey Donovan is the latest to point to connections between public health and the natural environment. Donovan and colleagues analyzed 18 years’ worth of data from 1,296 counties in 15 U.S. states where the invasive emerald ash borer beetle has infested and killed millions of trees. They found that counties infested with emerald ash borer had an additional 15,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease and 6,000 additional deaths from lower respiratory disease, after accounting for the influence of demographic differences such as income, race, and education. Although the study shows the association between loss of trees and human mortality from cardiovascular and lower respiratory disease, it did not prove a causal link, and the reason for the association is yet to be determined.”

The study was published in the February 2013 American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Are you surprised to hear of this potential link?

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