Environmental Health Research Foundation Releases Report On The Benefits Of Green Space

Contact: John Heinze, PhD

Environmental Health Research Foundation Releases Report On The Benefits Of Green Space

Report Demonstrates Importance of Green Spaces to Health and the Environment

CHANTILLY, Va., May 19, 2011–The Environmental Health Research Foundation (EHRF) announced today that it has released a report, “Benefits of Green Space – Recent Research.” The report is a scientific review of literature that provides a comprehensive evaluation and analysis of recent research studies from a variety of sources across the U.S. on the environmental and health benefits of properly maintained green space.  It cites primarily peer-reviewed, published studies as well as government and academic reports that have been developed since 2000.

The studies in the report focus on the benefits of “turfgrass” or “turf”.  In everyday parlance, these terms are generally associated with the broader notion of “green space,” which typically connotes such turf-related surfaces as residential lawns, commercial or institutional turf surfaces and public facilities such as parks and playing fields. For purposes of this report, all of these terms have been consolidated under the umbrella notion of “green space” but specifically link back to the benefits of turfgrass or turf.

EHRF reviewed hundreds of studies using standard research criteria for each section of the report (e.g. erosion control, etc.)  The findings and the studies were reviewed using six standard research criteria:

    • Impartial, objective and balanced review of the data
    • Adequately comprehensive review of the available data
    • Properly used “weight of evidence” to evaluate the data
    • The findings are supported by the data in the studies cited
    • The studies cited have been subjected to independent scientific peer review
    • Studies since 2000

Scientific studies highlighted in the report include the environmental benefits of turf in erosion control; water and air purification; temperature modification; oxygen generation; and carbon sequestration.

Key findings in the report concluded that:

    • Healthy, properly maintained green space provides substantial benefits to the environment in terms of erosion control/water purification, air purification, temperature modification/energy and cost saving, oxygen generation and carbon sequestration.
    • Green space provides substantial benefits to human health in terms of recreation/increased physical activity/reduced risk of obesity and healthcare/stress reduction.
    • This data rebuts claims that the need for healthy, properly maintained green space is only ornamental or aesthetic.

Documented Benefits of Green Spaces

“This compilation of recent, peer-reviewed research demonstrates the benefits of properly maintained green space,” stated John Heinze, PhD and researcher at the EHRF.  “This should also help municipalities, government entities, schools, park authorities, developers, and residents in further valuing and enhancing the significant benefits that green space can provide to both property owners and communities alike.”

For a copy of the report, email info@ehrf.info or visit www.ehrf.info.

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About EHRF

The Environmental Health Research Foundation (EHRF) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan scientific research foundation seeking to improve the analysis and communication of health and environmental science. Its goal is to further the understanding of science related to health and the environment, and especially the interaction between the environment and human health.

EHRF Executive Director John Heinze, PhD brings over 20 years of research, management, and communications experience to the EHRF. In addition to his expertise in microbiology, molecular biology, genetics, and toxicology, Heinze has authored over 35 scientific papers and presentations to international conferences and workshops.

Since 1995, Heinze has served as a senior science adviser on health and environmental issues, including the communications aspects of such issues. A particular focus has been on communication of health and environmental safety information including activities ranging from those focused on single substances to broad issues affecting numerous materials.