The NHS Forest’s collection of evidence and resources covers all aspects of green space and health. Here you can find relevant academic research, policy briefings, tools and reports covering a whole spectrum of issues, from biodiversity and climate change to green social prescribing and connection to nature.
Use the filters on the left to search for specific resource types or topics of interest. If you think we’ve missed something, do let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
Extensive resources from Plantlife – field guides, biodiversity reports, conservation, etc. Lots of Welsh-language material.
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.
A free online course on nature connection created by academics from Derby University.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.