What are the benefits of interacting with nature?

Keniger, Lucy E., Gaston, Kevin J., Irvine, Katherine N. and Fuller, Richard A. (2013) What are the benefits of interacting with nature?. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 10 3: 913-935. doi:10.3390/ijerph10030913

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Author Keniger, Lucy E.
Gaston, Kevin J.
Irvine, Katherine N.
Fuller, Richard A.
Title What are the benefits of interacting with nature?
Journal name International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1660-4601
Publication date 2013-03-06
Year available 2013
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.3390/ijerph10030913
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 10
Issue 3
Start page 913
End page 935
Total pages 23
Place of publication Basel, Switzerland
Publisher MDPI
Language eng
Formatted abstract
There is mounting empirical evidence that interacting with nature delivers measurable benefits to people. Reviews of this topic have generally focused on a specific type of benefit, been limited to a single discipline, or covered the benefits delivered from a particular type of interaction. Here we construct novel typologies of the settings, interactions and potential benefits of people-nature experiences, and use these to organise an assessment of the benefits of interacting with nature. We discover that evidence for the benefits of interacting with nature is geographically biased towards high latitudes and Western societies, potentially contributing to a focus on certain types of settings and benefits. Social scientists have been the most active researchers in this field. Contributions from ecologists are few in number, perhaps hindering the identification of key ecological features of the natural environment that deliver human benefits. Although many types of benefits have been studied, benefits to physical health, cognitive performance and psychological well-being have received much more attention than the social or spiritual benefits of interacting with nature, despite the potential for important consequences arising from the latter. The evidence for most benefits is correlational, and although there are several experimental studies, little as yet is known about the mechanisms that are important for delivering these benefits. For example, we do not know which characteristics of natural settings (e.g., biodiversity, level of disturbance, proximity, accessibility) are most important for triggering a beneficial interaction, and how these characteristics vary in importance among cultures, geographic regions and socio-economic groups. These are key directions for future research if we are to design landscapes that promote high quality interactions between people and nature in a rapidly urbanising world.
Keyword Urbanisation
Ecosystem services
Health benefits
Urban green space
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 105 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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