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Mortality and morbidity benefits of air pollution (SO2 and PM10) absorption attributable to woodland in Britain

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Neil Adrian Powe, Emeritus Professor Ken Willis

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Abstract

Forests in Britain produce social and environmental benefits, in addition to marketable timber outputs. One such non-market benefit is the reduction in air pollution, linked to health impacts (mortality and morbidity). This study assesses the benefits of SO2 and PM10 absorption by trees in terms of extending life expectancy of the population and reducing hospital admissions. Working at a resolution of 1 km2 with woodland over 2 ha, it is estimated that, for Britain as a whole, woodland saves between 5 and 7 deaths, that would otherwise have been brought forward, and between 4 and 6 hospital admissions each year. The economic value of the health effect of woodland is estimated to be at least £900,000 per year. Smaller areas of woodland, often located closer to population, sometimes strategically planted close to pollution sources, will generate additional air pollution absorption benefits to those estimated here. Researching such benefits would require more detailed data than is available at present for a national study. However, the health benefits of woodland are relatively small in comparison to other non-market forestry benefits.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Powe NA, Willis KG

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Environmental Management

Year: 2004

Volume: 70

Issue: 2

Pages: 119-128

Date deposited: 06/12/2007

ISSN (print): 0301-4797

ISSN (electronic): 1095-8630

Publisher: Academic Press

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2003.11.003

DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2003.11.003


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