Many people worldwide lack adequate access to clean water to meet basic needs, and many important economic activities, such as energy production and agriculture, also require water. Climate change is likely to aggravate water stress. As temperatures rise, ecosystems and the human, plant, and animal communities that depend on them will need more water to maintain their health and to thrive.
Forests and trees are integral to the global water cycle and therefore vital for water security – they regulate water quantity, quality, and timing and provide protective functions against (for example) soil and coastal erosion, flooding, and avalanches. Forested watersheds provide 75 percent of our freshwater, delivering water to over half the world’s population.
The purpose of the FAO Guide to Forest–Water Management is to improve the global information base on the protective functions of forests for soil and water. It reviews emerging techniques and methodologies, provides guidance and recommendations on how to manage forests for their water ecosystem services, and offers insights into the business and economic cases for managing forests for water ecosystem services.
Etifor was mainly involved in developing chapter 4 “Valuing water from forests”; here, the authors mainly address two topics: the value of the many ecosystem services provided by forests and the Payments for watershed services (PWS) that are a promising mechanism for benefitsharing and cooperation among the forest and water sectors, especially in the absence of legislative frameworks or functioning local governance.
Authors who contributed to the chapter: Giulia Amato, Giacomo Laghetto, Alessandro Leonardi, Mauro Masiero, Colm O’Driscoll.