Health and Protected Areas

Healthy nature, healthy people, Oulu Parks (FI) © Parks & Wildlife Finland

Health and Protected Areas: Case Studies

We can all agree that physical activity and contact with nature is essential for human health, and that ‘Green exercise’ can make a significant and sustained contribution to good physical and mental health and well-being. However, as this is a relatively new field of work there has been a clear need to build the evidence base to demonstrate the public health benefits that Protected Areas provide.

EUROPARC’s Health and Protected Areas Working Group has taken the first steps in building this evidence base. The group has compiled a suite of case studies from the EUROPARC network to demonstrate the important work that Protected Areas are doing in the field of health. They show the work that Protected Areas and agencies in Finland, France, Latvia, Spain and the UK are undertaking in different health policy areas. Furthermore, they demonstrate the significant contribution that parks make to human health and well-being through the development of policy or the delivery of projects and programmes.

The case studies are available in the download section at the end of this page.

The case studies will aid the promotion of European Protected Areas’ work in Europe and internationally and will form part of a toolkit for Protected Areas that the working group is developing. Since the work started further examples have emerged and a second tranche of case studies is envisaged. So please watch this page for new information!

Thank you to all the colleagues who contributed information and in particular to EUROPARC Atlantic Isles, Scottish Natural Heritage and Metsähallitus for supporting this piece of work.