|Hydrologic Effects of a Changing Forest Landscape (2008)|
Report in Brief
Of all the resources that forests produce, water may be the most important-streamflow from forests provides two-thirds of the nation's clean water supply. Forest managers face increasing pressure to cut trees to increase water supply for human uses, especially in western states where population is rising. However, cutting trees for short term water gains does not guarantee that water will be available in dry seasons, and it can ultimately degrade water quality and increase flooding vulnerability. At the request of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Forest Service, the National Research Council convened a committee to examine the present understanding of forest hydrology (the study of how water moves through forests), connections between forest management and attendant hydrologic effects, and directions for future research and management needs to sustain water resources from forests. The report concludes that forest hydrology must advance if it is to deal with today's complexities, and it identifies actions that scientists, forest and water managers, and citizens can take to help sustain water resources from forests.