Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Global Forests are Overlooked as Water Suppliers, Study Shows

12.12.2011
The forests of the world supply a significant amount of moisture that creates rain. A new study published in Global Change Biology reveals how this important contribution of forests to the hydrologic cycle is often overlooked in water resource policy, such as that of the EU.

The study, by David Ellison, Martyn Futter and Kevin Bishop at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), shows that reducing forest area reduces regional and continental rainfall. This needs to be recognized to obtain a fair picture of the forest role in the hydrologic cycle.

“Are forests good for water? An apparently simple question divides scientists in two camps – those who see trees as demanding water and those who see trees as supplying water,” said David Ellison who works in the Future Forests research program studying resource management. “This paper demonstrates that the difference between these two camps has to do with the spatial scale being considered.”

From a local perspective, a tree is a consumer of water. But on a broader regional scale, forests supply the atmosphere with moisture that will become rainfall. Some dry areas depend almost entirely on rain that comes from forest-covered areas via the atmosphere.

The view of forests as a consumer of water influences the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) which includes strategies for water pricing, but fails to consider the contribution of forests to the water cycle. The same goes for the increasingly popular “Water Footprint”, a tool developed to communicate the water usage of a product or process.

Deforestation and land conversion from forest to agriculture or urbanization will have a negative effect on regional precipitation. On a small scale and in the short run it may not be noticeable. But if the loss of forests continues, there is a risk that both rainfall and water supply will decrease in many places.

Afforestation and reforestation on the other hand could be used as an invaluable climate change adaptation tool to bring increasing moisture to regions where rainfall is on the decline.

David Ellison argues for the need to change the basic view about the importance of forests in the hydrologic cycle in a new article in the influential journal Global Change Biology.

“Forests, whose contribution to the water cycle is crucial for human survival and future well being, should be regarded as a global public good, to be preserved and used for the benefit of all.”

This paper is published in Global Change Biology. To receive a copy, please contact Annika Mossing at Future Forests, SLU, +46 90 7868221, +46 727 103944

Link to Article: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2486.2011.02589.x/full

Contact the Authors: David Ellison, ellisondl@gmail.com, cell phone 0036-30-929-5246

The Future Forests research programme produces research on which to base strategies for the sustainable use of boreal forests. Future Forests is a Mistra programme, hosted by Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). It is a joint initiative between SLU, Umeå University and the Forestry Reserach Institute of Sweden

Mikael Propst | Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, S
Further information:
http://www.slu.se

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Contacting the molecular world through graphene nanoribbons

19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

When Proteins Shake Hands

19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

Cells communicate in a dynamic code

19.02.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>