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Nature-based outdoor activities for mental and physical health: Systematic review and meta-analysis

Coventry et al., 2021

This review assessed fifty studies of nature-based interventions for health impacts. It concluded that there is good evidence to demonstrate that nature-based interventions reduce depressive mood, anxiety disorders, and negative moods. It suggests that the evidence for the impact of nature-based interventions on physical health is less strong. The most effective interventions from the reviewed studies lasted between 8 and 12 weeks, and the optimal dose time was 20 to 90 minutes. The study emphasises that nature-based interventions are likely to play a key role in addressing the expected surge in demand for mental health support following the coronavirus pandemic, and therefore should be a key priority for investment.

Academic publication
Green social prescribing
Mental health
Nature connection

Nature-based solution: rhetoric or reality? The potential contribution of nature-based solutions to net zero in the UK

House of Lords, 2022

The House of Lords has published a report examining the role of nature-based solutions (NBS) to support the UK’s net zero carbon targets. The report discusses in detail the current state of, and potential for use of NBS, in different land types across the UK, including forests, agriculture, marine, etc. It analyses the ability of current government policy to meet targets for emissions and nature restoration and finds them severely lacking. We have analysed the report and written about some take-home messages for the NHS Forest network here.

Government report
Climate change

Plantlife publication library

Plantlife

Extensive resources from Plantlife – field guides, biodiversity reports, conservation, etc. Lots of Welsh-language material.

NGO Report
Biodiversity
Climate change

Parks close to your postcode

ONS

This tool shows you the closest park or greenspace to a postcode. It tells you how much closer or further away you are on average from other people in your neighbourhood, as well as the number of people for whom your park is the closest park.

Academic publication
Inequality and access

Nature connectedness: For a new relationship with nature

Derby University

A free online course on nature connection created by academics from Derby University.

Academic publication
Nature connection

Lonely in a crowd: investigating the association between overcrowding and loneliness using smartphone technologies

Hammoud et al., 2021

Contact with nature in cities can reduce the loneliness that is caused by overcrowding and social alienation in cities. Read the Guardian write-up of this study here: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/dec/20/contact-with-nature-cities-reduces-loneliness-study-mental-health.

Academic publication
Mental health

Nature visuals: diversity in images of England’s green and natural spaces

Climate Outreach, 2021

Image libraries do not show a diverse range of people enjoying nature, reinforcing harmful ideas about who is welcome in the countryside. The report highlights six principles that should be at the heart of visual storytelling, including authentic representation rather than tokenism, including more ‘real’ people, and diversifying who is behind the camera. The report is aimed at “anyone wanting to tell more diverse stories of people and nature”, including communications professionals, academics and anyone working in the outdoors and photography sectors.

NGO Report
Inequality and access

Valuing the mental health benefits of woodlands

Forest Research, 2021

This research is the first of its kind, evaluating the role of woodland in alleviating mental illnesses, resulting in reduced costs to the NHS and employers. The annual mental health benefits associated with visits to the UK’s woodlands are estimated to be £185 million (based on conservative estimates of the costs of mental health issues). The value over the next 100 years could be over £11 billion for the mental health benefits of visits to woodlands, plus £1 billion for the mental health benefits of street trees.

NGO Report
Mental health
Trees and woodland

Lifelong exposure to residential greenspace and the premenstrual syndrome: A population-based study of Northern European women

Triebner et al., 2021

This study of over 1000 Scandinavian women found that higher levels of greenspace exposure reduced overall PMS symptoms, especially anxiety, depression, bloating and breast tenderness. It concluded that living in greener areas may be beneficial against PMS symptoms.

Academic publication
Inequality and access
Mental health
Physical health

Nature-based solutions for climate change mitigation

United Nations Environment Programme, 2021

This UN report sets out the rationale for using nature-based solutions in climate change mitigation. It gives an overview of what is meant by ‘nature-based solutions’, examples of what such solutions could entail, and outlines the potential of nature-based solutions to mitigate climate change.

NGO Report
Climate change