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Walden never ends

What happens when a person comes in contact with the forest? How can the active substances plants emit interact with our health? The Healthy Forests project for a healthy society, promoted by “la Caixa” Foundation and coordinated by CREAF and ICTA-UAB, seeks to examine the role forests play in the physical health of people.

Discovering the scientific basis of the sense of well-being provided by contact with nature is what has lead a group of researchers from the Institute of Science and Environmental Technology of the UAB (ICTA), to enter the Montseny: a forest that “has so many different species —from oaks to beech trees; pines and cork oaks— with results that can be easily extrapolated to any forest in Europe,” as Martí Boada, professor and researcher at ICTA, states.

The research, which is promoted by “la Caixa” Foundation and coordinated by CREAF, seeks to prove that trees and people may have more things in common than we think: what happens to a healthy or sick person who comes in contact with the forest? As Boada explains in this ALMA article, “we have to stop separating culture and science and understand that human beings and nature are part of the same thing and that we are directly related. Trees are also a living mass, a society that evolves.”

“The second part of the study,” says researcher Roser Maneja, “will be to see exactly how this forest environment, the macrobiotic, is related to the human microbiome, our body”. Researchers will analyse the active substances plants emit and how they can interact with our health.

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