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LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - More trees at water sources improve sanitation and lead to fewer children dying from diarrhea in poor countries, a global study said on Monday.

The study examined the health of 300,000 children and the quality of watersheds across 35 countries including Bangladesh, Nigeria and Colombia, and found that having more trees upstream led to healthier children.

“This shows, very clearly, how healthy ecosystems can directly support human health and welfare,” said co-author of the study, Brendan Fisher, a researcher at the University of Vermont in the United States.

“This suggests that protecting watersheds, in the right circumstances, can double as a public health investment,” he said in a statement.

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