Green Space, Human Health, and Social Justice

Urban green spaces like parks, urban forests, and greenways are often not equally available to everyone. “My research focuses on the nexus between urban nature, social justice, and health as it relates to factors such as income, race, and socioeconomic status,” says U.S. Forest service biological scientist Viniece Jennings. Existing research has described the benefits…  More 

Urban Forests & West Nile Virus

Since 1999, West Nile virus has spread throughout the U.S., frequently sickening and occasionally killing people. The virus has killed at least one person in every state in the conterminous U.S. “There are many risk factors for infection with West Nile virus,” says U.S. Forest Service research forester Wayne Zipperer. “However, risk factors are complicated…  More 

Can Urban Forest Settings Influence How Well Children with Autism Manage?

In late July, USDA Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the four recipients of the 2016 USDA Forest Service’s National Urban and Community Forestry Challenge grants. One of the four, the winning proposal from Georgia State University (GSU), investigates the impact of natural environments such as urban and community forests on symptom expression in children with…  More 

Health Benefits of Green Spaces Not Shared Equally

Without forests, parks, gardens, and other green spaces, some people may be at a higher risk of health challenges such as heart disease, obesity, depression, and heat-related illness. “Decades of research suggest that the natural environment can play an important role in sustaining public health,” says U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) scientist Viniece…  More 

New Tools for Urban Foresters

Across the southeastern United States, rapid urbanization is transforming previously rural areas and creating new environmental challenges. Desoto County, Mississippi, is emblematic of these changes: since 1970, its population has increased by 430 percent, from 36,000 people in 1970 to 159,000 in 2010. The Environmental Protection Agency lists Desoto County as an ozone non-attainment” area,…  More 

Park Access and Environmental Equity

 Forest Service Researcher Looks at Changing Demographics in the South When the term “environmental justice” is used, most people think of the siting of environmental hazards, but environmental justice also includes questions about access to environmental goods. For those who live in towns and cities, access to parks is one such environmental good. Little is…  More