According to research released on Thursday, protected Indigenous reservations in the Amazon rainforest absorb thousands of tons of airborne pollutants each year, saving almost $2 billion in healthcare expenditures for treating respiratory and cardiovascular problems.
The ten-year study examined the health effects of forest fires in the Brazilian Amazon, which emit massive amounts of airborne particulates that can harm the air quality in nearby cities by traveling hundreds of kilometers (miles).
The study, which was published in the journal Communications, Earth & Environment, found that Amazon Indigenous peoples contribute to the prevention of thousands of cases of potentially fatal diseases by protecting their own lands from such fires–often started by land–grabbers, cattle ranchers, and other people encroaching on the forest-and instead saving pollution-absorbing trees.
According to senior author Paula Prist of the US-based research group EcoHealth Alliance, “forests are known for absorbing pollutants from fires through pores on the surface of the leaves, but this is the first time we have estimated the capacity of tropical forests to do this.”
She stated in a statement that the findings show the Amazon rainforest can take in up to 26,000 metric tons of the particles annually, with Indigenous territory accounting for 27% of this absorption, as per Phys.org.
Indigenous woods, according to the study, prevent 15 million cases of sickness annually, saving the healthcare system at least $2 billion, according to researchers.
Numerous studies have discovered that forests, which are crucial to the effort to slow climate change because of their ability to absorb pollution, are protected by Indigenous lands.
The latest study, according to indigenous leaders, adds even another justification for preserving traditional territories.
They asked Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right predecessor of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, to fulfill his commitment to resume the creation of additional Indigenous reservations (2019-2022).
Forests Make Us Healthier
Being in or around trees and taking in their beauty can help you feel better mentally, physically, and emotionally, as per New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Numerous studies demonstrate that being in a forest while exercising and simply sitting and gazing at trees lower blood pressure and the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline.
The impact of looking at photos of trees is similar but not as strong.
Studies looking at the same activities in cities without vegetation revealed no reduction in the effects of stress.
Researchers discovered that trips for forest bathing considerably reduced the scores for anxiety, melancholy, anger, bewilderment, and exhaustion on the Profile of Mood States exam.
The advantages of forests for reducing stress are further enhanced by the fact that stress hinders the immune system.
Urban green spaces are just as significant as rural woodlands.
Around 85% of Americans reside in suburbs and cities, where they might not have access to typical rural woodlands.
An urban and communal forest is made up of gardens, parks, and street trees.
Due to the fact that they provide us with everyday access to trees, these small areas of green space are quite crucial.
Due to our work, studies, and family commitments, our lives are busier than ever.
We can become mentally exhausted when we try to concentrate on a lot of things or even just one item for a long time; this condition is known as directed attention fatigue.
The cognitive part of our brain gets a rest when we spend time in nature and observe plants, water, birds, and other natural phenomena.
This allows us to concentrate better and regain our capacity for patience.