Forest & Landscape Water Ecosystem Services (FL-WES) Tool

The FAO Forest and Water Programme, launched in March 2016, emerged with the vision that forests can contribute to solutions addressing water security by strategically managing them within the landscape for water resources. To increase our understanding of forest-water interactions and ensure that they are taken into account in policy and management decisions, the Forest and Water Programme developed the Forest & Landscape Water Ecosystem Services (FL-WES) Tool. 

The tool provides decision support for the monitoring of forest-water interactions based on different contexts and situations. Based on the current conditions of the interest area and the available knowledge and resources, the tool will guide users to the best methodologies to collect baseline information in order to understand forest-water interactions. If baseline information already exists, the user will be guided to build on what is already in place to better measure these indicators and take into account a wider range of issues that will be key for future management plans.  

The interactive tool is integrated with other state of the art data systems and provides guidance on current, trustworthy and widely used methodologies. As such, the FL-WES tool provides an innovative approach to forest-water monitoring that may be applied at different management scales and in any area of the world.  

The target audience includes national and sub-national forestry, water and environmental agencies globally, a well as natural resources managers, who are interested in incorporating a appropriate framework for the forest-water nexus into their policies and management practices. 


The overall objective of this tool is to support monitoring of forest-water interactions in order to improve our understanding of these issues and ultimately to inform policy and management decisions to achieve better management of forest ecosystems and landscapes. 

The tool has four specific objectives: 

 Making monitoring more accessible even to non-academic project developers and/or policy makers by providing an interactive, online platform that adapts automatically to the needs of users;

 Improving forest management decisions by making more explicit the link between forestry and hydrological dynamics through the provision of relevant indicators based on recent science and preferred methodologies based on project context;

 Providing practitioners with tools to collect, aggregate and visualize data from specific projects over time that cover a wide range of contexts globally;

  Supporting collection of data that can be used to inform management guidelines by providing users with ways to interpret data as a cost-effective alternative to publications.