Forest and Water Interactions

TF Forest and Water Interactions

Task Force Coordinator:

Tony Simons, Kenya


Shirong Liu, China

Rationale and objective(s)

The quality and access to clean water throughout the globe is threatened by overuse, inefficiency and pollution. Here the interaction between forests and water is paramount and should be given higher priority. Forest watersheds provide a high proportion of the water for home, agricultural, commercial and ecological needs in both upstream and downstream areas. Landscape managers are presented with a key task of balancing this wide range of multi-sectoral forest benefits without detriment to water resources and ecosystem function. To address this priority, there is a pressing need for greater understanding of the interactions between forests and water, for better recognition and capacity strengthening in forest hydrology, and for translating this knowledge into policies and decision-making processes.

The Forests and Water Research Goal has been identified in the new IUFRO 2010-2014 Strategy as one of six key areas for development. The linkages between water, wetlands and forests show the importance of managing ecosystems in their entire complexity in order to protect the related vital services. Important questions such as water consumption of growing tree crops compared to other land uses; the impact of bio-energy schemes on catchments moving towards closure require answers. The development of a framework assessing the overall benefits and costs of forestry schemes in relation to timber supply, biodiversity, societal and environmental impacts is needed. Issues of governance and institutional arrangements need to be taken into account.

The specific objectives of the Task Force are:

  • Provide tangible research goals and knowledge gaps in thematic area
  • Promote more cross-disciplinarity across IUFRO divisions
  • IUFRO contributions to be more evident in other international processes
  • Prioritise to a few areas for greater collaboration and focus (four identified in Strategy as the starting point)
  • Promote greater dialogue between science and policy actors

Task Force members

  • Division 5    Andrew Wong, D.Phil
  • Division 6    Prof. Dorothy Anderson  
  • Division 7    Yusuf Serengil
  • Division 8    Jean Michel Carnus
  • Division 9    Kathy E. Halvorsen


In addition to the Divisional and Working Group individuals and institutions the following partners are indicated for involvement:

  • Africa Forest Forum
  • AFROMAISON Project
  • Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
  • Chinese Academy of Forest
  • FAO Forest Department
  • Great Green Wall Initiative of Sahel
  • ICAR
  • International Water Management Institute
  • PRESA Project
  • University of Bangor Wales
  • USFS
  • World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)

Send comments to Tony Simons (Task Force Coordinator)