Bridging the gap between forest management and water conservation

FAO’s Forest and Water Programme has developed a facilitation guide for project and community stakeholders involved in natural resources management to enhance the multiple benefits of forests for water conservation.

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Photo: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has launched a new publication entitled “Advancing the forest and water nexus – a capacity development faciliation guide” which aims to help technicians, local communities and policymakers better understand the connection between water and forests.

Currently forest watersheds provide 75% of freshwater for human consumption but only 25% of forests are managed with water conservation in mind. The aim of this guide is to consider this relationship in an integrated way.

According to the publication, this relationship plays an important role in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as forests are not only a natural solution to the water supply problem due to their role in intercepting rainfall and purifying water resources, but they can also – if properly managed – improve access to water in developing countries.

The guide includes 6 modules in total, covering the basic theory of the forest-water nexus and its role in the greater landscape, as well as modules that describe how to measure and monitor forest-water relationships and take them into consideration in management. It also contains practical exercises and field activities and provides learning tools, background information, key messages and presentations.

Full reference

Eberhardt, U., Springgay, E., Gutierrez, V., Casallas-Ramirez, S. and Cohen, R. 2019. Advancing the forest and water nexus – A capacity development facilitation guideRome, FAO.

Discover some ongoing case studies on forests and water in Catalonia, Spain, and Cusco, Peru, via the SINCERE project which supports research and innovation for forest ecosystem services.