Why understanding the interconnections between trees and water is vital
Forests are natural water filters, supplying urban populations from Manhattan to Mumbai with clean water. But despite costing as little as US$2 per person per year, less than a quarter of the world’s forests are managed for water conservation.1 On farmland and in wetlands, trees draw water and nutrients from soil, store carbon, and shelter critical biodiversity. And mountains are the world’s ‘water towers’, supplying freshwater to billions of people worldwide.2
The climate crisis is changing all of this, often in unpredictable ways. But sustainable forest management and agroecological approaches such as agroforestry can restore the critical connections between trees and water – and the ecosystems and human communities that rely on them.
This feature showcases recent work by CIFOR-ICRAF on forests, agroforestry, water and wetlands.