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 Researchers discover a new link to fight billion-dollar threat to soybean production
14.02.2017 | University of Missouri-Columbia

nachricht Important to maintain a diversity of habitats in the sea
14.02.2017 | University of Gothenburg

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed

21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Novel breast tomosynthesis technique reduces screening recall rate

21.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Use your Voice – and Smart Homes will “LISTEN”

21.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>