The Relationship Between Trees and Human Health
The loss of trees to the emerald ash borer increased mortality related to cardiovascular and lower-respiratory-tract illness.
Donovan, Geoffrey H. et al. (2013). The Relationship Between Trees and Human Health: Evidence from the Spread of the Emerald Ash Borer. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 44(2): 139–145. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2012.09.066
A natural experiment, which provides stronger evidence of causality, was used to test whether a major change to the natural environment—the loss of 100 million trees to the emerald ash borer, an invasive forest pest—has influenced mortality related to cardiovascular and lower-respiratory diseases.
There was an increase in mortality related to cardiovascular and lower-respiratory-tract illness in counties infested with the emerald ash borer. The magnitude of this effect was greater as infestation progressed and in counties with above-average median household income. Across the 15 states in the study area, the borer was associated with an additional 6113 deaths related to illness of the lower respiratory system, and 15,080 cardiovascular-related deaths.