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Forest and Water Programme

What we do

Trees and forests play an important role in regulating the availability of fresh water. For example, forests reduce run-off, soil erosion and sedimentation of waterways; trees improve soil infiltration and groundwater recharge; and trees evapo-transpire water and contribute to the transportation of water and energy resulting in local surface cooling as well as precipitation in other locations.

The Forests and Water programme takes a holistic approach, integrating forest-water science, policy and practice. It advocates for the recognition of forest-water interactions and the role trees and forests play in maintaining resilient landscapes and providing high quality water resources, taking into account forest-water interactions for different climatic zones, forest ecosystems and at different landscape scales.

History

FAO has been a leader in bringing the forest-water issue to the forefront of international discourse and action, known as the International Forests and Water Agenda.

This process involves various stakeholders representing the forest and water sectors, governments, academia, private sector and civil society. The Forests and Water programme engages in watershed management, disaster risk management, advocacy, ecosystem services, sustainable livelihoods as well as knowledge management.

Read more on the history of the Forests and Water Agenda

The International Forests and Water Agenda – key milestones since 2002