IUFRO Spotlight #91 - Forests and Water
IUFRO Spotlight is an initiative of the International Union of Forest Research
Organizations. Its aim is to introduce, in a timely fashion, significant findings in
forest research from IUFRO officeholders and member organizations to a worldwide network
of decision makers, policy makers and researchers.
IUFRO will encapsulate, and distribute in plain language, brief, topical and
policy-relevant highlights of those findings, along with information on where/how to
access the full documents. The IUFRO Spotlight findings will be distributed in a periodic
series of emails as well as blog postings.
Forests and Water
Science-Policy-Practice Interface for Managing Forest and Water Interactions under a
[Photo showing a forest behind a lake. Photo: Kalexander73 on Pixabay.]
Kalexander73 on Pixabay
Water is fundamental to life on earth. What may not be quite so obvious is that forests
are equally vital resources for life on the planet.
And the two - water and forests - are inseparable in the pursuit of a sustainable and
sustainably developed world. Therefore, forests and water resources have been identified
as essential elements in adaptation to climate change.
The IUFRO-sponsored Forests and Water science-policy forum at the IUFRO World Day provided
a platform for scientists, forest managers and decision-makers from the Asia-Oceania
region to share insights and experiences about forest and water interactions from
Among the significant challenges discussed by the forum panelists were the increasing
competition for water resources, the positive and negative impacts of carbon sequestration
due to large scale afforestation and reforestation, climate change-related shifts in
rainfall patterns and capacity building requirements among civil groups at various levels
to ensure competent engagement in forest and water management.
To address the challenges of competition for water, a range of technical, social and
political actions have been suggested - technical advancements such as GIS, remote sensing
and climate modelling to better understand the full hydrological cycle, targeted
reforestation, better integration of planted forests in the wider landscape, good
community engagement and tighter regulatory environments
[Photo showing a lake surrounded by mountains, with forests. Photo: Vandaagevenniet on
Vandaagevenniet on Pixabay
Integrated watershed management was also advocated as a way to deal with the impact of
changes in rainfall due to climate change. This varies across the region; in some areas
such as Japan there have been record-breaking heavy rains, while in others there have been
Forests play a crucial role in supplying clean water, help prevent environmental hazards
such as soil erosion and flooding as well as ensuring many other ecological functions. Any
forest changes - and their interactions with climate - can significantly affect water
resources and water-related ecological functions and services.
Therefore, managing forests for water provision is an important priority in various
international initiatives (Bonn Challenge, UN SDGs etc.). In addition, there is an active
agenda to use reforestation for landscape restoration and to mitigate rising atmospheric
carbon dioxide content.
The forum panelists also underlined that communicating and sharing technical advances and
policies must be strengthened to ensure that research on forest and water interactions in
a changing environment is appropriately addressed.
The opening address for the forum was delivered by IUFRO Vice President Liu Shirong of the
Chinese Academy of Forestry.
Keynote presentations were given by Meine van Noordwijk, World Agroforestry Centre
(ICRAF), Nairobi, Kenya; and by Richard Harper of Murdoch University, Perth, Australia.
Richard Harper is also Deputy Coordinator of IUFRO's Task Force on Forests and Water
Interactions in a Changing Environment.
The panel discussion featured:
Brenda Baillie, Northland Regional Council, New Zealand;
Mingfang Zhang, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China;
Kyoichi Otsuki, Kyushu University, Japan;
Diomedes A. Racelis, University of the Philippines Los Baños, Philippines; and
Hyung Tae Choi, National Institute of Forest Science, Republic of Korea.
The online discussion was one of three science-policy forums organized for IUFRO World
Day. (The other two - Forests and Fire and Forest-based Bioeconomy for All - will be
covered in separate Spotlights.)
Link to the forums: Science & Policy | IUFRO World
Link to the recording:
IUFRO World Day was a worldwide digital event that took place on September 28-29 in three
time zones around the world. It comprised 24 hours of forest-related research topics,
networking, and emerging issues of relevancy for global policy makers. The event was
designed to showcase the diversity of the IUFRO network, including IUFRO's scientific
units and IUFRO's member organizations, to facilitate networking, and to enhance
communication and outreach.
The World Day comprised 79 live sessions from IUFRO Units and Members - including the
three forums mentioned above - covering highly relevant topics for policy makers as well
as three central IUFRO sessions, one in each time zone. Over 3000 participants from more
than 100 countries registered for the event. IUFRO: IUFRO World Day - Digital Forest
Science Forum 2021 / Events<https://www.iufro.org/events/iufro-world-day/>
The findings reported in IUFRO Spotlight are submitted by IUFRO officeholders and member
organizations. IUFRO is pleased to highlight and circulate these findings to a broad
audience but, in doing so, acts only as a conduit. The quality and accuracy of the reports
are the responsibility of the member organization and the authors.
Suggestions for reports and findings that could be promoted through IUFRO Spotlight are
encouraged. To be considered, reports should be fresh, have policy implications and be
applicable to more than one country. If you would like to have a publication highlighted
by Spotlight, contact: Gerda Wolfrum,
The International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) is the only worldwide
organization devoted to forest research and related sciences. Its members are research
institutions, universities, and individual scientists as well as decision-making
authorities and other stakeholders with a focus on forests and trees.
IUFRO Spotlight #91, published in December 2021
by IUFRO Headquarters, Marxergasse 2, 1030 Vienna, Austria.
Available for download at: https://www.iufro.org/media/iufro-spotlights/
Contact the editor at office(at)iufro.org<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> or visit
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