Friday, June 14, 2013
Do Dying Trees Lead to More Human Deaths? The Debate Continues
by Jason Kane, PBS
The hypothesis: Trees improve people's health.
The experiment: Remove 100 million trees in the eastern and midwestern United States over the course of 10 years and see what happens.
What happened: People died.
In the 15 states infected with the emerald ash borer -- which killed all 100 million of those trees -- an additional 15,000 people died from cardiovascular disease and 6,000 more from lower respiratory disease compared with uninfected areas of the country.
After studying data from 1,296 counties and accounting for other variables, research forester Geoffrey Donovan and his team at the U.S. Forest Service concluded that having fewer trees around may be bad for your health. Their study -- published recently in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine -- concluded that there's an associative link between trees health and human health. Proving a direct, causal link will take much more research. Read More