While there has been substantial research in a number of countries (e.g., Russia, Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan), comparatively little specific research on the positive and far-reaching effects of Forest Therapy as a Public health practice has been conducted in Australia or other countries in the Southern hemisphere.
Here, INFTA has taken the initiative to establish research links to renowned universities, faculties and institutes interested to collaborate. Likewise, INFTA is engaged actively in research projects with a variety of partners. Further to this, INFTA’s role is to disseminate research findings among the wider community nationally and internationally. In this context, it is crucial for INFTA to rely on experienced and well-published academics, researchers and practitioners as Founding Members and Associate Members as well as on its Advisory Board.
One of the currently ongoing projects is the collaboration with the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. Here, INFTA and the Institute of Forests Therapy have begun to collect health data from participants of the regular guided Forest Therapy walks. A first research report will be released soon. However, one of the key findings is that the stress levels reported by participants before and after each guided Forest Therapy event dropped significantly by about 20%! This underscores the remarkable health effect guided Forest Therapy walks have on all of us.