The health benefits of being in nature have long been recognized, and recent studies document physical changes in people breathing forest air, for example, says Dan Kraus, Weston conservation scientist with the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
Yet the impact of forests goes well beyond the personal wellbeing of the people who visit them.
A study titled The Natural Capital Value of Forest Habitat Conservation, produced in partnership with TD Bank, builds appreciation for the importance of Canada’s major forest regions and quantifies the economic value of selected forest properties conserved through the TD Forests program.
“Traditionally, I’ve been looking at nature through an ecological lens, but more recently I’ve been collaborating with an economist to quantify some of the economic value of forests, such as water filtration, flood control, pollination and carbon storage,” says Kraus.
“Historically, many of these environmental benefits have been taken for granted. By translating some of these services that forests provide into an economic value, we explain why they are important and why we need to make an effort to keep them in our landscapes.”
He adds that forest conservation helps to ensure that natural areas are protected – and able to continue providing a multitude of benefits to nature and to people.
Note: All of the information in the infographic is current to August 2016.