In this volume concerning the natural environment, people, and the relationship between them, Rachel and Stephen Kaplan offer the first research-based analysis of the vital psychological role that nature plays in our lives. Over a period of twenty years, the authors have sought to understand how people perceive nature and what types of natural environments they prefer, what psychological benefits they seem to derive from wilderness experiences, and why backyard gardens are especially important to some people. The book examines the satisfactions and advantages that various natural settings bring to us. While many readers may have little doubt that the natural environment makes a difference to them, they may be suprised to discover the pervasiveness of its impact on people of diverse ages and cultural heritages. Beyond the awe-inspiring mountains and waterfalls, many comparatively simple natural settings foster tranquility and well-being. The book explores questions such as: Is the effect of nature on people as powerful as it intuitively seems to be? What makes natural settings so compelling? How do settings restore bodily health? Are some natural patterns more effective than others? Are there ways to design, manage, and interpret natural environments so as to enhance their beneficial influences? A wide audience will find this analysis of our natural environment compelling and insightful.