Is biodiversity of greenspace important for human health and wellbeing? A bibliometric analysis and systematic literature review

Journal article

Global urbanisation has consequences for human health and relationships with the natural environment. While urban greenspaces are theorised to support health and wellbeing, the role of biodiversity as a mechanism supporting this process is yet to be fully quantified.

This review aimed to evaluate existing evidence for a relationship between biodiversity of greenspace and human health and wellbeing, including both self-reported and clinical outcomes.

We conducted a systematic database search, thorough article screening and quality assessment, conducting a review of five previous reviews and narrative synthesis of the ten recent studies meeting our inclusion criteria. We also performed a bibliometric analysis of 1,758 studies to chart geographical and temporal trends on the topic.

Results revealed that few reviews have holistically analysed the evidence for a relationship between biodiversity in greenspaces and human health directly, finding mixed, or weak evidence for a relationship between biodiversity and various aspects of physical and mental health. Our narrative review discovered evidence supporting associations between health and floral biodiversity, particularly subjective wellbeing and self-reported health, with mixed evidence for other health outcomes or more holistic measures of biodiversity.

Consistently defined terminology and integrated methods are required for further research to understand long-term health impacts of exposure to biodiversity through larger-scale longitudinal and controlled case-studies.

Andy Hong
Victoria Houlden
Anant Jani
Volume 65, In progress, November 2021
Health and Wellbeing