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The Forest–Water Nexus: An International Perspective

Forests no. 10, 2019









Springgay, E.; Casallas Ramirez, S.; Janzen, S.; Vannozzi Brito, V. The Forest–Water Nexus: An International Perspective. Forests 2019, 10, 915.

https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100915


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    The forest-water nexus is crucial for ensuring water and food security, as well as for achieving sustainable development objectives. Only by recognising the interlinkages of forests and water, and how the management of these resources influences productive multi-functional landscapes can appropriate long-term benefits from landscape planning and management be actualized. And while it is important that generalized assumptions about the forest-water nexus are not widely applied due to their complex and context specific nature, the knowledge is available to lend guidance. Ultimately, we must facilitate cross-sectoral engagement to improve our ability to design, implement, and learn from landscape approaches that both rely on the relationships between forests and water, and impact them. This is necessary if all countries are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular those related to hunger (SDG 2), poverty (SDG 1), water (SDG 6), climate (SDG 13), energy (SDG 7), economic growth (SDG 8), sustainable cities (SDG 11) and life on land (SDG 15). In August 2017, parallel to World Water Week, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) hosted a meeting with 12 experts from the forest and water sectors. The meeting aimed to establish consensus on (i) issues and messages, (ii) develop key communication messages and strategies; and, (iii) develop joint activities for 2018-19 that promote the forest-water nexus. The successful meeting concluded by producing a joint statement on forests and water.
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    Forests are intrinsically linked to water – forested watersheds provide 75 percent of our accessible freshwater resources (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005) – and both forest and water resources are relevant to the achievement of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Despite the important interlinkages, the forest-water nexus is often unaccounted for in policy and planning. For example, three quarters of forests are not managed for soil and water conservation, which poses a fundamental challenge to achieving sustainable and resilient communities and ecosystems. It is paramount to employ an integrated approach to forest and water resources in management and policy that takes into account the complexity and contextual nature of forest-water relationships. To achieve this, we must improve our understanding of forest-water relationships within local contexts and at different scales, as well as our ability to design, implement, and learn from landscape approaches that both rely on these forest-water relationships, and impact them. In this context, FAO’s Forest and Water Programme has developed a module-based capacity development facilitation guide for project and community stakeholders involved in forest, water and natural resource management to ensure we apply our knowledge to better manage forests and trees for their multiple benefits, including water quantity, quality and the associated socio-economic benefits that people within and outside forests so heavily depend on.
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    Brochure, flyer, fact-sheet
    Forests and Water: managing our connected natural capital 2018
    Also available in:
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    The forest-water nexus is crucial for ensuring water and food security, as well as for achieving sustainable development objectives. Only by recognising the interlinkages of forests and water, and how the management of these resources influences productive multi-functional landscapes can appropriate long-term benefits from landscape planning and management be actualized. And while it is important that generalized assumptions about the forest-water nexus are not widely applied due to their complex and context specific nature, the knowledge is available to lend guidance. Ultimately, we must facilitate cross-sectoral engagement to improve our ability to design, implement, and learn from landscape approaches that both rely on the relationships between forests and water, and impact them. This is necessary if all countries are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular those related to hunger (SDG 2), poverty (SDG 1), water (SDG 6), climate (SDG 13), energy (SDG 7), economic growth (SDG 8), sustainable cities (SDG 11) and life on land (SDG 15). In August 2017, parallel to World Water Week, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) hosted a meeting with 12 experts from the forest and water sectors. The meeting aimed to establish consensus on (i) issues and messages, (ii) develop key communication messages and strategies; and, (iii) develop joint activities for 2018-19 that promote the forest-water nexus. The successful meeting concluded by producing a joint statement on forests and water.

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