This research will be of use to policymakers in making the case for continued investment in, and expansion of the UK’s woodlands and treescapes, as well as the provision of public access to ensure people reap the benefits of those woodlands. It includes evidence of a correlation between reduced antidepressant prescribing in urban streets with more trees per kilometer. Vadim Saraev from Forest Research said:

“If people spend 30 minutes a week in trees, doing whatever they like – walking, sitting meditating – there are noticeable benefits. It’s amazing how small that is in terms of time. You will feel much better than if you spent the 30 minutes looking at social media. ”

The report estimates £185m savings (avoided costs) from access to trees across the UK. This is compared to  estimates of the value of all UK recreation, which the Office for National Statistics puts at £557m a year.

The point is made that we intrinsically know that woodlands have value in their own right but that this research on economic valuations is aimed at making their benefits relevant for policymakers.

“If there is no value, it is not considered in decision making.”

The full Research Report 'Valuing the mental health benefits of woodlands' and summarised two-page In Brief note are available for download.