The Science of Forest Medicine
There is a great deal of scientific research available that firmly establishes the many benefits of spending time in nature. Much of it comes from Japan, although there is a great deal of evidence from research in many other countries as well. The International Society of Nature and Forest Medicine maintains lists of articles and links on Forest Medicine and Nature Medicine. The home of much of this research is the Japanese Society of Forest Medicine. Be sure to spend some time on both of these organizations' websites.
Hiking Research bills itself as "The hub for the latest research on the restorative power of nature and its impact on health and work effectiveness"
Children and Nature Network
The Children and Nature Network focuses on the relationship between nature and children's health and learning. The Network hosts a list of research links on its site here. The Children and Nature Network was founded by a group of researchers including Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder and The Nature Principle.
Healthy Parks Healthy People
Healthy Parks Healthy People (HPHP) Central has evolved out of the International Healthy Parks Healthy People Congress 2010, to maintain global momentum for better understanding the links between nature and human health.
HPHP Central is a resource for the HPHP global community to learn about and share the latest research, case studies, programs and innovations that focus on the health benefits of human contact with the natural world.
If you have time to read only one research article, this one from 2009 (published 2010) is recommended. Environ Health Prev Med (2010) 15:27–37, authors Yuko Tsunetsugu, Bum-Jin Park, Yoshifumi Miyazaki.
Trends in Research Related to Shinrin-yoku (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing).
We also recommend the article published in Outside Magazine in November of 2012. Take Two Hours of Pine Forest and Call Me in the Morning.
Dr. Alan C. Logan Explains Shinrin-Yoku
Dr. Logan is a co-author of the book "Your Brain on Nature." He traveled to Japan and spent time with some of the top researchers in the field of forest medicine. This 12-minute video provides a very engaging overview of shinrin-yoku science and practice in Japan.