Healthy Trees, Healthy Lives 

Urban forests play an important, multifaceted role in maintaining and improving the environmental conditions of cities, as well as contribute to the health of the people that live there. Since more than 80% of Virginians live in urbanized areas, it is increasingly important to invest in and take care of these forests.

Networks of trees and community forests can contribute to improved human health outcomes, overall well-being, and quality of life in urban environments. Numerous studies have found relationships between human exposure to urban forests and associated human mental and physical health benefits.

As a response to the increased research findings pertaining to the relationship between trees and human health, the Southern Group of State Foresters launched the campaign “Healthy Trees Healthy Lives” to promote this research nationwide.

Did you Know?

  • People are three times more likely to achieve recommended levels of activity when exercising in treescapes.
  • Higher tree density can decrease risk of childhood obesity by 12%.
  • Treescapes reduce the risk of dying from several common causes of death — including cardiovascular and respiratory diseases — by between 8-12%.
  • Cardiovascular disease is 1.5 times greater for individuals living greater than two blocks away from a park.
  • A 1% increase in proportional nearby usable greenspace equals a 4% decrease in rate of anxiety/mood disorder treatment.
  • Dementia patients with access to treed “wander gardens” reduced falls by 30% and medications by 10%.
  • 10% increase of urban tree canopy within a mother’s neighborhood decreases small gestational age births by 1.42 per 1000 and increases birthweights up to 15g.

Additional Resources

ImageTitleIDDescriptionContent Typehf:tax:document-categoryhf:tax:Media
Forests: Providers of Ecosystem Services
Forests: Providers of Ecosystem ServicesP00142

Brochure provides insight into the other ecosystem benefits that forests provide, such as carbon sequestration, water quality, wetland and species mitigation banking. Printed copies available.

From Trees to Products - We Depend on Trees for Many Everyday Products
From Trees to Products – We Depend on Trees for Many Everyday ProductsFT0034

Forestry topic information sheet provides information about the products we get from trees, including solid wood products, wood pulp products and products from other tree parts.

Healthy Trees Healthy Lives Resources
Healthy Trees Healthy Lives Resources

Many resources are available through this website, a cooperative effort of the Southern Group of State Foresters, Western Forestry Leadership Coalition, and the Northeast Midwest State Foresters Alliance to educate about the connection of trees, forests, and health.

Healthy Trees, Healthy Lives
Healthy Trees, Healthy Lives

Presentation prepared by the Southern Group of State Foresters highlights the reasons trees contribute to healthy lives. (Warning – large file)

My Trees Count
My Trees Count

Every tree planted makes a difference to the health of our communities and the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The VDOF and partners want to highlight tree planting projects from across the state. Submit your tree planting to show that your trees count!

Riparian Forest Buffers - Forests on the Water's Edge
Riparian Forest Buffers – Forests on the Water’s EdgeP00140

Publication is the effort of the Chesapeake Bay Program, including multiple states within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, to educate the community leaders and the public about the benefits of riparian forest Buffers, their importance to watersheds for air quality, water quality and fish and wildlife habitat, forest Buffer losses and how we manage growth in riparian zones, how to maintain quality riparian forest Buffers, efforts in riparian forest restoration, and what you can do for forest Buffers. Printed copies available.

The Benefits of Trees!
The Benefits of Trees!PST006

Poster educates the public about the benefits of trees – human health, improved water quality, energy savings, reducing heat, and providing local wood sources. Printed copies available.

Valuing Virginia's Forests - Ecosystem Benefits Provided by Our Forests
Valuing Virginia’s Forests – Ecosystem Benefits Provided by Our ForestsFT0005

Forestry topic information sheet provides a brief overview of the indirect benefits, such as ecosystem services, that we derive from our forests. Printed copies available.


Contact Us

For more information or questions, e-mail us or use our contact form.