Healthy forests for healthy people

The UN proclaimed 21st March as International Day of Forests (IDF) back in 2012. Twelve years on the day is still celebrated and used to raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests, with countries all over the world organising activities such as tree planting campaigns, exhibitions and conferences.

Forests are an important part of our ecosystem and give so much to us, so this year’s theme "Forests and health" seems pretty apt. To raise awareness and celebrate International Day of Forests, we have compiled our top four ways forests benefit your health.

Our mission at the Forest of Marston Vale has allowed us to plant two million trees within 61 square miles of forest. You can support your Community Woodland this International Day of Forests by joining us in fundraising. Download our fundraising A-Z and Fundraising Pack to get started.

So, how do forests really benefit our health?


1. Produces the oxygen you breathe – Take a deep breath in

Trees provide us with the oxygen we breathe! When they make glucose from sunlight, through a process called photosynthesis, leaves pull in carbon dioxide and water and release oxygen as a by-product. It is proposed that one large tree can provide a day’s supply of oxygen for up to four people. So, next time you take a deep breath of air give credit to a tree for the very air we breathe.


2. Benefits your physical health – Get your steps in

We all know we should be moving more, the average person should be walking around 10,000 steps per day, so why not get those steps in surrounded by beautiful trees and wildlife. Spending time in a forest has also been shown to reduce the stress hormone cortisol. We have a whole host of walks you can explore throughout Bedfordshire. Check out our walking guides to find the best route for you.


3. Improves your wellbeing – Clear your mind and relax

Mental health and wellbeing are hot topics at the moment. Being at one with the forest and connecting with nature is a great excuse to get out the house and soak up some rays, it’s also been shown to help reduce stress levels and improve mood. Exposure to natural light helps our bodies produce Vitamin D, improves our circadian rhythms and sleep patterns, helps us to focus, and even makes us happier. So get outside, clear you mind and relax.


4. Absorbs harmful pollutants – Now breathe out…

A tree has the ability to provide an essential of life for all living things on our planet – oxygen, and the power to remove harmful gases like carbon dioxide making the air we breathe healthier. Trees store carbon dioxide in their fibres, helping to clean the air and reduce the negative effects that CO2 can have on our environment. In one year a mature tree can absorb more than 21kg of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen in exchange.


Hue knew?

Did you know that the human eye is most sensitive to the colour green and is therefore able to distinguish the most shades of that colour, this is likely an evolutionary adaptation in helping us find suitable food in the wild.

So now you know how beneficial forests, and specifically trees are, come and visit one of our 13 Community Woodlands in the Forest of Marston Vale. We will be promoting International Day of Forests online and at The Forest Centre and Millennium Country Park across the month, as well as providing a fundraising pack to help you sponsor us. Help us mitigate the impact of climate change by visiting our website and donating to help us plant more trees.