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Trees in urban areas help reduce stress

Strolling in a tree-lined avenue or in a city park helps people become less stressed. The more the wood is thick, the less is the stress.

It is widely known that strolling in nature helps people relax and reduce stress. But now researchers at the University of Illinois have assessed in a joint study with the University of Hong Kong how much natural scenery can reduce a person’s stress levels. They have discovered that a tree-lined avenue in a city helps the person who views it become less stressed.

 

trees
Strolling in a tree-lined avenue reduces stress.

 

The study was conducted by a research team led by Dr Bin Jiang, professor at the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Illinois, and published in the scientific journal Environment and Behaviour in May. It demonstrates that there’s a link between the density of trees and stress recovery for people who view trees.

 

The test: more trees, less stress

The study involved 160 participants, who were unaware of the aims of the test. These were subjected to different stressful scenarios, including preparing a speech, delivering it to a group of people, and performing a subtraction task in front of judges and a video camera.

 

trees
The more trees in a city, the less its habitants are stressed.

 

Then the participants watched 3D videos featuring urban areas with different amounts of tree canopy coverage, from 2 to 62%. Then the participants’ levels of stress before, just after and a short period after the test have been measured in three questionnaires.

 

The results revealed a positive, linear association between the density of trees and stress recovery. “These findings – research reveals – suggest that viewing tree canopy in communities can significantly aid stress recovery and that every tree matters”.

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