Forest Service Contributes to Global Forest and Water Assessment for United Nations

More than 50 internationally recognized scientists from 20 nations developed a report that presents the current state of knowledge on the relationships between forests and water across the planet. The report was released on July 10 in New York at the 2018 United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and is intended to inform policymakers and stakeholders in their efforts to support sustainable development and ensure access to clean water for all people around the world.

Cover of “Forest and Water on a Changing Planet: Vulnerability, Adaptation and Governance Opportunities” A newly published report presents the current state of knowledge on the relationships between forests and water across the planet. Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center research ecologist and USDA Southeast Climate Hub Director Steven McNulty is among the report’s lead authors who assessed global forests’ capacity for supplying water resources amid increasing water demands and climate change and variability. Additionally, the report examines how adaptation, mitigation, and governance could be used to more equitably share and use forest water resources. McNulty was a co-lead in five chapters in the eight-chapter report and co-coordinated the report’s chapter on determinants of the forest-water relationship, which highlights global trends within an interconnected social-ecological system. The chapter also discusses the factors driving changes to this system—including precipitation and air temperature, atmospheric chemistry influenced by air pollution, human-caused land use and land cover shifts, and increasing human populations and urbanization—that ultimately impact water quantity and quality at various scales and timeframes. The report, “Forest and Water on a Changing Planet: Vulnerability, Adaptation and Governance Opportunities,” was prepared by members of the Global Forest Expert Panel on Forests and Water—an initiative of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests led by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO). McNulty is an IUFRO deputy-coordinator who served as a panel member with the scientists who developed the report.

Pictured: More than 50 internationally recognized scientists from 20 nations collaborated to develop “Forest and Water on a Changing Planet: Vulnerability, Adaptation and Governance Opportunities.”


Related links:


External Partners/Collaborators:
Collaborative Partnership on Forests led by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations

Contact: Steven McNulty, Director, USDA Southeast Climate Hub, smcnulty@fs.fed.us


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