02.05.2017 - Soledad Benitez

New publication on Forest Management and the Impact on Water Resources: a Review of 13 Countries

© Carmen Rodriguez Medina

The publication entitled "Forest Management and the Impact on Water Resources: a Review of 13 Countries" was launched by UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean at the 2nd Stakeholders Meeting of the 8th World Water Forum, held in Brasilia from 26 to 27 April, 2017.

The event was part of the preparation meetings for the forthcoming 8th World Water Forum, due to be held in Brazil in 2018.

The publication includes contributions from 46 authors from selected countries, and was edited by Pablo García-Chevesich, Daniel Neary, David Scott, Richard Benyon and Teresa Reyna.

The review provides country-based summaries of the current state of knowledge on the relationship between forest management and water resources. Chapters were submitted by scientists from 13 countries experiencing the impacts of forest management on water. This group of countries represents almost half of the world’s population, making this document a relevant contribution to the current state of the art of water, forestry, management and policy issues.

The publication seeks to identify similarities and differences in historical forest management, climate, vegetation types and socio-economic conditions that drive the use and management of forests. As the results of forest hydrological research vary from country to country, generalization and extrapolation between countries and regions can prove difficult. However, the combination of watershed characteristics (size, slope and soils), current and previous uses of land and local climates, especially the temporal distribution of precipitation and annual temperatures, are of particular significance.

The core contents of this report seek to clarify how cooperation and conflict around forests and water resources are increasing worldwide. Future research should focus on how to solve current and future conflicts, taking into account local climates. As agriculture, mining and urbanization continue to grow, water resource demands are expected to increase, resulting in a greater need for cooperation as a means to avoid conflict. However, the demand for forest-related products will also increase.

In addition, the establishment, conservation and management of forests require attention on the part of most countries, in order to ensure the existence of healthy watersheds. Activities such as reforestation, afforestation and land restoration are also a key factor for the future, as millions of hectares around the world are deforested each year, many of which become deserts.

The full publication is available at the following link: unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002479/247902e.pdf

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