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For Geoffrey Donovan, a research forester at the Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station, and his colleagues, the loss of 100 million trees in the eastern and midwestern United States was an unprecedented opportunity to study the impact of a major change in the natural environment on human health. In an analysis of 18 years of data from 1,296 counties in 15 states, researchers found that Americans living in areas infested by the emerald ash borer, a beetle that kills ash trees, suffered from an additional 15,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease and 6,000 more deaths from lower respiratory disease when compared to uninfected areas.
When emerald ash borer comes into a community, city streets lined with ash trees become treeless. The researchers analyzed demographic, human mortality, and forest health data at the county level between 1990 and 2007. The data came from counties in states with at least one confirmed case of the emerald ash borer in 2010. The findings -- which hold true after accounting for the influence of demographic differences, like income, race, and education -- are published in the current issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
There's a natural tendency to see our findings and conclude that, surely, the higher mortality rates are because of some confounding variable, like income or education, and not the loss of trees," said Donovan. "But we saw the same pattern repeated over and over in counties with very different demographic makeups.
Once beautiful and abundant, the American chestnut tree covered huge tracts of land across the eastern United States for thousands of years until a fungus from Asia decimated virtually every tree standing on North American soil.
Originally posted by iforget
reply to post by Iamschist
There was more not less correlation found in wealthier areas Here is the PDF of the research article.