Forests and health

III International Congress on the Forest and its Potential for Health

12 September 2020

There is scientific evidence of the positive effects of nature in general, and of forests in particular, on human health and well-being. This was the main topic for discussion at the III International Congress on the Forest and its Potential for Health which took place in Catalonia, 7-10 October 2019. The scientific evidence which was presented spanned from biomedical and neurological to sociological research.

Participants acknowledged that the preservation of the best preserved and mature forests goes hand-in-hand with giving value to the multiple ecosystem services provided by them. Indeed, it is becoming increasingly well known that forests provide significant benefits to human health and well-being. This goes beyond the provision of traditional ecosystem services such as soil protection, water and air purification, carbon storage, and overall resilience to climate change; forests also support landscapes, leisure, spirituality, cultural heritage, and offer many other tangible and intangible benefits to people.

The congress resulted in a declaration which concerns the coordination, realization and diffusion of research on the effects of forests on human health and well-being, promoting networks of forests with a therapeutic function and fostering cooperation between the institutions involved in forest therapy at the international level.

Xabi Buqueras
Focal Point for the Medforval member site Poblet