Forests and Water Interactions in a Changing Environment

TF Forests and Water Interactions in a Changing Environment

Task Force Coordinator:

Xiaohua (Adam) Wei, Canada


Richard Harper, Australia

Shirong Liu, China

Rationale, Goals and Objectives

Forests play an integral role in the supply of clean water for a range of uses, and also have critical interactions with climate. Much of the world's freshwater is provided through forested catchments and forests protect soil, water quality, flow regime and aquatic systems. Better managing forests and water will, directly and indirectly, support all 17 UN2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  recent global assessment [1] on forests and water demonstrates that forests and water must be assessed and managed in an integrated way at all spatial and temporal scales. 

This Task Force will build and strengthen the global and regional research networks around forests and water interactions. The key goal is to support sustainable forest management for enhancing water-based ecosystem services and meet the UN 2030 SDGs through developing coherent management responses that build on this improved understanding and evidence of forest and water interactions in a changing environment. In addition, it will refine existing, and explore new strategies to manage forests and water interactions.    

[1] I.F. Creed, M. van Noordwijk (eds.), 2018. "Forest and water on a changing planet: Vulnerability, adaptation and governance opportunities." A Global Assessment Report, IUFRO World Series Volume 38. Vienna.


  1. Develop global and regional networks of forest and water researchers and research organizations.
  2. Examine the effects of forest management, afforestation and reforestation at local and regional scales on forest and water interactions, and other ecological services and their trade-offs.
  3. Examine the interactions and feedbacks of forests and water in a broad context that considers impacts of and on climate variability and change, emerging climate change mitigation strategies and markets, and adaptive forest and water management.
  4. Evaluate the interaction between science and related policy responses concerning declining water values in forested areas, global forest decline, and inter-related climate and landscape scale forest disturbance impacts.
  5. Provide an international focus on and leadership for forest and water interactions.
  6. Interact with global policy agencies (e.g., FAO) and major environmental treaty organizations and institutions (e.g., UNFCCC, CBD, UNCCD, IPBES, Future Earth), and provide direct information to stakeholders and decision makers.
  7. Work closely with other IUFRO Task Forces and Divisions to bridge science, forest management and policy.


  1. Organize specialized workshops and sessions at existing and future meetings or conferences. These will examine different themes related to forests and water. The most important one is the 6th IUFRO International Conference on Forests and Water in a Changing Environment in Beijing in 2025 that will examine forest-water relations at multiple spatial and temporal scales.  
  2. Promote collaborations across different IUFRO Task Forces and Divisions through joint workshops, publications and educational programs.   
  3. Publish the papers from the organized workshops either as review articles or as special issues in forestry and ecohydrology journals.

Send comments to Xiaohua (Adam) Wei (Task Force Coordinator)