|Running pure : the importance of forest protected areas to drinking water : a research report
|Year of Publication
|Dudley, N, Stolton, S
|112 p. : 5 boxes, 6 maps, photogr., 10 tab.
|Washington, DC, USA
|australia, brazil, catchment areas, drinking water, forestry, groundwater, land use, sdiwrm, singapore, turkey, usa, venezuela, water conservation
Forests and freshwater systems interact in many different ways: through soil stability and sediment load; fisheries and fish hatching; the impacts of different tree species on acidification of water; mitigation of incidence and severity of flooding from headwater catchments; management of downstream water logging and salinity; influencing the availability of water for irrigation systems; maintaining the quality of water for industrial purposes; and so on. This research report focuses on one specific interaction: the role of forests, and particularly protected forests, in maintaining quality of drinking water for large cities. There are many reasons for this focus: many city dwellers already face a crisis of water quality, and contaminated water spreads a vast and largely unnecessary burden in terms of short and long-term health impacts including infant mortality, with knock-on effects on ability to work, industrial productivity and on already over-stretched health services. The poor, unable to afford sterilised or bottled water, suffer the greatest impacts. In a rapidly urbanising world the scale of this problem is particularly acute.
A clear understanding of the links between watersheds and water supply can encourage management decisions with benefits for biodiversity, for people in cities and, through compensation schemes, for people in the catchments. The hydrological processes are complex and the results of their interactions with precipitation inputs and land-use will vary from one place to another. The links between water, protected areas, livelihoods and biodiversity conservation can only be optimised if management is carefully planned and negotiated with all relevant stakeholders.