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

Forests and trees are essential to maintaining resilient production systems, communities and ecosystems. They are vital to our water supply, sustaining high quality water resources. Trees intercept atmospheric moisture, contribute to cloud and rain formation, reduce erosion and recharge groundwater. With approximately 80% of the world population facing water insecurity, consideration of the forests-water nexus is increasingly important. But how can we manage forests for water? How can we monitor forest-water linkages? In order to respond to these questions, FAO has developed the Forest & Landscape Water Ecosystem Services (FL-WES) Tool, an interactive tool that supports forest and water monitoring, taking into consideration environmental, economic and social indicators.

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

In focus

Monitoring Framework
Consists of six over-arching quantitative and qualitative indicators, 20 sub-indicators and 69 variables to monitor the forest-water nexus.

Forest and Water Programme
Since 2016, FAO's Forest and Water Programme has tackled the issues of managing forests and trees for water and food security.

Capacity Development
Understanding the forest-water nexus is vital for sustainable forest management. Capacity development is the key to success.


In order to increase our understanding of forest-water interactions and ensure that they are taken into account in policy and management decisions, the FAO Forest and Water Programme developed the Forest & Landscape Water Ecosystem Services (FL-WES) Tool. The tool is designed to be adaptable to different contexts. 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. Read more...