Building Positive Relationships: Parks, Government, Healthcare
Presentation and Discussion

But Will There Be Forests? Local Policy and Conservation

Kathleen Wolf, Ph.D.
Research Social Scientist
School of Environmental and Forest Sciences at the University of Washington

More than 50% of the world's population lives in cities, and population projections suggest that urbanization trends will continue. Big trees and groves are essential for forest bathing and therapy. The benefits evidence suggests that every resident of a community should have access to forest bathing opportunities as part of their nearby nature encounters. Yet increased urban development is often accompanied by the removal of trees, with little follow up to restore forest stands. How do we protect large trees and forest stands? What are the essential conditions of a forest bathing setting that might be used to craft protective code? This presentation will welcome audience engagement about the complex questions of local government policy for therapeutic forests planning and conservation, and suggest how to be advocates for the values of trees.

Dr. Kathleen Wolf is a Research Social Scientist with the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences at the University of Washington. She was a research associate with the US Forest Service Pacific NW Research Station from 2010-2018 working on a research program about Urban Forestry and Civic Stewardship. Since receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan Dr. Wolf has done research to better understand the human dimensions of urban forestry and urban ecosystems. She has also worked professionally as a landscape architect and as an environmental planner. Kathy's studies are based on the principles of environmental psychology; her professional mission is to discover, understand and communicate human behavior and benefits, as people experience nature in cities and towns. Moreover, Kathy is interested in how scientific information can be integrated into local government policy and planning. She is a member of or has served with national organizations that promote nature in cities:  the Environmental Design Research Association, the International Society of Arboriculture, Society of American Foresters, the Transportation Research Board national committee on Landscape and Environment, the Washington State Community Forestry Council, as well as a technical contributor on human well-being to the Sustainable Sites Initiative, and Research Advisor to the TKF Foundation's NatureSacred program. Dr Wolf has presented her research throughout the United States, in Australia, Canada, Europe, Japan, Hong Kong, the Dominican Republic and Mexico. An overview of Dr. Wolf's research programs can be found at; and a nature health benefits review is at Green Cities: Good Health: