Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Global Forests are Overlooked as Water Suppliers

15.12.2011
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

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.

Annika Mossing | idw
Further information:
http://www.vr.se
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2486.2011.02589.x/full

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Crop achilles' heel costs farmers 10 percent of potential yield
24.01.2017 | Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

nachricht How much drought can a forest take?
20.01.2017 | University of California - Davis

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein

X-ray study throws light on key process for production

A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Breaking the optical bandwidth record of stable pulsed lasers

24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Choreographing the microRNA-target dance

24.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Spanish scientists create a 3-D bioprinter to print human skin

24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>