Watersheds Lost up to 22% of Their Forests in 14 Years. Here’s How It Affects Your Water Supply

Print More

Author: Yyuan Qin and Todd Gartner | Published on: August 30, 2016

Drought in Sao Paulo. Flooding in the Himalayas. And pollution in Sumatra. These three distinct water crises have a common cause—degradation in forests.

That’s because upstream forests, wetlands and other “natural infrastructure” play a critical role in supplying clean water downstream. They stabilize soil and reduce erosion, regulate water flow to mitigate floods and droughts, and purify water. Yet the world’s watersheds lost 6 percent of their tree cover on average from 2000-2014, putting citizens at risk of losing their water supplies.

Global Forest Watch (GFW) Water, a global mapping tool and database launched today, examines how forest loss, fires, unsustainable land use and other threats to natural infrastructure affect water security throughout the world. GFW Water provides data sets, statistics and risk scores for all of the world’s 230 watersheds, areas of land where all of the water drains to a common outlet such as a river. Users can drop a pin anywhere to learn about the risks to the water supply near them, and find resources on how investing in natural infrastructure protection can help alleviate these threats.

KEEP READING ON WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE

Comments are closed.