Healthy Forests for a Healthy Society
A research project on Mediterranean forests conducting a scientific analysis of the link between forests and human health.
Healthy Forests for a Healthy Society is a research project led by the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) and the Ecological and Forestry Applications Research Centre (CREAF) in conjunction with the “la Caixa” Banking Foundation.
The study aims to provide new scientific evidence to complement existing studies that suggest that direct contact with forests may be beneficial to human health, and, at the same time, predict what areas will be the healthiest in the near future, bearing in mind that environmental and climate conditions are changing across the planet due to the phenomenon known as climate change.
The main purpose of this study is to understand the chemical and physiological mechanisms by which forests can play a direct role in people’s health. This is a multidisciplinary study that combines experimental measurements in forests and laboratories, drone technology and citizen participation.
The ICTA-UB team is analysing the primary active substances emitted by plants in forests in the Montseny area and how they interact with people’s health.
In a later phase of the project, they will measure whether the maturity of the forest and other factors alter the concentrations of these chemicals and investigate how these chemicals are incorporated and metabolized in the human body after being in the forest.
The CREAF team is studying the current state of health of the forests and how it will change in the warmer and drier future that is expected. To study the forests, CREAF has created a citizen science platform called Alerta Forestal.