Journal article

The role of the natural environment in disaster recovery: "We live here because we love the bush"

Karen Block, Robyn Molyneaux, Lisa Gibbs, Nathan Alkemade, Elyse Baker, Colin MacDougall, Greg Ireton, David Forbes

HEALTH & PLACE | ELSEVIER SCI LTD | Published : 2019


This mixed-methods study explored the role of connection to the natural environment in recovery from the 'Black Saturday' bushfires that blazed across Victoria, Australia, in February 2009. Qualitative findings demonstrated that many participants had a strong connection to the natural environment, experienced considerable grief as a result of its devastation in the fires and drew solace from seeing it regenerate over the following months and years. Quantitative analyses indicated that a strong attachment to the environment was associated with reduced psychological distress, fewer symptoms of major depression and fire-related PTSD, and higher levels of resilience, post-traumatic growth and li..

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Awarded by Australian Research Council Linkage Grant

Funding Acknowledgements

Seed funding was received from the University of Melbourne. The study was then funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant LP100200164 including financial and in-kind contributions from linkage partners Department of Health, Australian Red Cross, Australian Rotary Health, Centrelink, Phoenix Australia-Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health, and six Primary Care Partnerships: Central Hume, Bendigo Loddon, North East, Outer East, Central West Gippsland, and Lower Hume. Linkage partners were involved in contributing to the design of the study and interpretation of the results. Additional salary support for Lisa Gibbs and Elizabeth Waters from the Jack Brockhoff Foundation is also acknowledged.