Forests are a source of well-being



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Forests are a source of well-being

The forest is a vast area of ​​the earth's surface not anthropized and dominated by natural vegetation, especially tall trees, which grows and spreads spontaneously. When the forest has a limited extension and is subject to forestry, it is called a forest.

According to the FAO, the term forest identifies an area greater than 0.5 hectares characterized by trees higher than 5 m and a tree cover greater than 10%. Following this definition, forests covered an area of ​​4.06 million hectares in 2020 (30.8% of the global land area).

More than half of the forests are found in five countries (Russia, Brazil, Canada, the United States of America and China). Most of the forests (45%) are located in the tropical belt, followed by the boreal belt (27%), temperate (16%) and subtropical (11%).

But as we know, forests are also a source of well-being. Health Benefits Derived from Forest: A Review, published on the International journal of environmental research and public health, said: "In this paper the scientific literature on the association between forests, stress relief and relaxation is reviewed with the purpose to understand common patterns of research, the main techniques used for analysis, findings relevant to forest-therapy-oriented management, and knowledge gaps.

The database of studies was collected with a keyword search on the Web, which returned a set of 32 studies that were included in the analysis. The main findings and patterns were identified with a text mining analysis of the abstract to search for keyword patterns across studies.

The analysis indicates that most studies compared rest and relaxation performances across urban and forest environments and used a combination of self-reported measure of stress or rest collected with validate scales, eg, the Profile of Mood of States (POMS) and the Restorat ion Outcome Scale (ROS), and a minority-only set of these two groups of indicators.

Results of this review indicate that primary studies identified a positive association between forest exposure and mental well-being, in particular when compared to urban environments, thus suggesting that forest are effective in lowering stress levels.

This study found that, to date, the characteristics of forests and characteristics of the visit are little investigated in the literature. For this reason, more research with a focus on forest variables such as tree species composition, tree density and other variables affecting forest landscape should be further investigated to inform forest management.

Similarly, the characteristics of the visits (e.g., length of visit and frequency) should be further explored to provide robust forest therapy guidelines."