Forest ThreatNet

Volume 12, Issue 2 - Spring 2018

From Tropical Rainforests to Faucets: Report Quantifies Water Yield across Puerto Rico

Cover of report called "Quantifying the role of forested lands in providing surface drinking water supply for Puerto Rico"Managers and researchers are monitoring recovery of Puerto Rico’s forests in the wake of Hurricane Maria, which made landfall on September 20, 2017. Not only do these forests provide vital habitat and economically important recreation opportunities, they are also critical sources of nearly half the island’s water supply say the authors of a recently published report. Using the WaSSI ecosystem services model, Center resource information specialist Erika Mack led the effort to quantify water supplies originating on 835,000 acres of commonwealth (public) and privately owned forests. “Forests make up about 38 percent of Puerto Rico’s total land area and contribute approximately 43 percent of its surface water supply,” says Mack. Private forest lands provide the majority of this water, while the 28,000-acre El Yunque National Forest provides about 3 percent. About 2.6 million people rely on these water supplies according to the study, which is part of an update to the Forest Service's 2014 Forests to Faucets project. Read more in CompassLive...

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