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Nature, smells, and human wellbeing

Bentley, P.R.*, Fisher, Jessica C.* [*joint first authors], Dallimer, Martin, Fish, R.D., Austen, Gail E., Irvine, Katherine N., Davies, Zoe G. (2022) Nature, smells, and human wellbeing. Ambio, 52 (1). pp. 1-14. ISSN 0044-7447. E-ISSN 1654-7209. (doi:10.1007/s13280-022-01760-w) (KAR id:95834)

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The link between nature and human wellbeing is well established. However, few studies go beyond considering the visual and auditory underpinnings of this relationship, even though engaging with nature is a multisensory experience. While research linking smell to wellbeing exists, it focuses predominantly on smells as a source of nuisance/offence. Smells clearly have a prominent influence, but a significant knowledge gap remains in the nexus of nature, smell, and wellbeing. Here, we examine how smells experienced in woodlands contribute to wellbeing across four seasons. We show that smells are associated with multiple wellbeing domains, both positively and negatively. They are linked to memories, and specific ecological characteristics and processes over space/time. By making the link between the spatiotemporal variability in biodiversity and wellbeing explicit, we unearth a new line of enquiry. Overall, the multisensory experience must be considered by researchers, practitioners, policy-makers and planners looking to improve wellbeing through nature.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/s13280-022-01760-w
Uncontrolled keywords: Environment; Green space; Memory; Olfactory; Sensory; Woodlands
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Funders: European Research Council (
Depositing User: Jessica Fisher
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2022 10:16 UTC
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2022 15:09 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Fisher, Jessica C.* [*joint first authors]:
Dallimer, Martin:
Fish, R.D.:
Austen, Gail E.:
Davies, Zoe G.:
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