More trees in arid areas could lead to more water access

 

Photo credit: Forests News

New study shows that a trade-off between water and tree cover doesn’t always exist. Eric Montfort /CIFOR 

Finding water amid the trees

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More trees in arid areas could lead to more water access—which is good news for hundreds of millions of the world’s poorest people.

Burkina Faso – It is not often that a study completely upends a prevailing view, and, in doing so, offers hope of improving the lives of hundreds of millions of people.

But that is exactly what research recently published in Scientific Reports has done for the understanding of trees and water in dry regions.

In arid places where water is scarce, the planting of trees is often discouraged out of the belief that trees always reduce the availability of much-needed water.

Yet scientists working in Burkina Faso found that when a certain number of trees are present, the amount of groundwater recharge is actually maximized.

The study is a “game changer”, according to one of the study’s authors, Douglas Sheil, professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and a senior research associate with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

Read the full story: Forests News

 

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Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.