Not all green spaces made the same, quality needs to be high for health benefits

An Australia-wide study of connections between environments and respiratory health, led by PhD Student Craig Liddicoaand published in Journal of Environmental Management, has found that living in the vicinity of biodiverse environments is strongly associated with a lowered incidence of respiratory disease. 
The paper also included Environment Institute researchers, Profs Peng Bi, Michelle Waycott, Andrew Lowe and Phillip Weinstein.
Numerous other studies have connected human health with the amount of green space surrounding people’s homes, however this new work emphasises that the quality of green space (such as diversity of vegetation types) appears to be important in achieving health benefits.
The apparent protective effect of landscape biodiversity ranked highly among other known correlates of respiratory health, both beneficial (socioeconomic status) and adverse (smoking, obesity).
The authors discuss the possibility of beneficial influences on the immune system from environmental microbial diversity (from biodiverse vegetation and their living soils), among other environmental factors, which may be contributing to the geographically-variable respiratory health outcomes.
The study’s findings will motivate further research into underlying causal mechanisms. If new knowledge of links between biodiversity and human health can be discovered, it may help drive new cost-effective nature-based public health intervention programs, and land use planning, that can simultaneously benefit both the environment and human health.
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