Expert Panel on Forests and Water

Photo showing Silver Lake in Wasatch Mountains, Utah, USA.
Silver Lake in Wasatch Mountains, Utah, USA; 2014. Photo: Andre Purret, IUFRO.

A large proportion of people worldwide has difficulties in accessing and obtaining water to meet their basic needs. As the world's population grows water is expected to become even more scarce resource in the future. Forests and forested landscapes are essential for various water-related ecosystem services. Water provision and filtering, conservation of soils and climate regulation are among the many services connected to trees and forests, influenced by the interactions between forests and water.

While numerous scientific publications and studies are available on "forests and water", the scientific information has not yet been systematically assessed and synthesized globally. The topic of "forests and water" by its own nature transcends the boundaries of scientific disciplines and political sectors. In the light of the recently agreed 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the defined Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the topic "forests and water" has gained even more prominence on the political agenda.

Following the decision by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), IUFRO agreed to initiate and coordinate a global scientific assessment on "forests and water" in the frame of the CPF's Global Forest Expert Panels (GFEP) initiative, starting from January 2017. The ultimate goal of the new assessment is to produce an up-to-date scientific synthesis report and associated policy brief on the topic by mid-2018.

The assessment aims to contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by connecting SDG 6 on water and SDG 15 on forests, thus illustrating the cross-sectoral contributions of forests to the various SDGs. The study will provide input to the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) and its session in 2018 and is of particular relevance for the 13th session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF 13) in 2018.

The assessment is expected to address main aspects of the subject matter and provide more holistic understanding of the interactions between forests and water. More specifically, the assessment will include the following thematic areas: i) review of the different dimensions of the interlinkages between forests and water, and related concepts; ii) synthesis of existing scientific information on eco-hydrological processes related to forests, factors influencing these processes, and related services; iii) analysis of the different perspectives for the management of forests and water; iv) assessment of the socio-economic roles of forest and water interactions and related challenges, and v) analysis of the policy context, including governance frameworks, and identification of response options at various levels.   

Terms of Reference of the Panel

Panel Activities

Photo showing the Participants of the 1st Meeting of the Expert Panel on Forests and Water; Cambridge, June 2017.
Participants of the 1st Meeting of the Expert Panel; Cambridge, June 2017. Photo: A. Hacket-Pain
Photo showing a plant in Tropical Vietnam.
Tropical Vietnam. Photo: Geoff Roberts.

1st Meeting of the Expert Panel on Forests and Water
Cambridge, UK;  26-29 June 2017.

Draft Agenda - Minutes - Report     

Scoping Meeting for the GFEP assessment on Forests and Water
Rome, Italy; 16-17 March 2017.

Draft Agenda - Minutes