Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) Toolbox

Tool Details

Forests and floods - Drowning in fiction or thriving on facts?

Year of publication 2005
Every year large-scale floods in the Asian lowlands affect the personal and economic fortunes of millions of people. To many people involved in developing disaster-reduction strategies and flood-mitigation management, it appears that the intensity of floods has increased in the region in recent decades. A common - and perhaps understandable reaction - is to blame the mismanagement of Asia’s uplands and the clearing of forests in important mountainous watersheds for the misery brought to the lowlands. To a large extent, conventional wisdom - which is sometimes more fiction than fact - about the benefits of forests has clouded the perspectives of decisionmakers, leading to an over-emphasis on reforestation and forest protection at the expense of more holistic watershed and river-basin management. This booklet aims to separate fact from fiction on issues related to forests and water and to dispel some of the commonly held misconceptions about the role of forests in flood mitigation. It does not pretend to provide an exhaustive overview on the subject; rather, it aims to brief policy-makers, development agencies and the media, and so constructively contribute to the development of sound watershed and river-basin management, and flood-mitigation policies, for the region.
Type of Tool
Guidelines, manual, kits for trainers
Scale of Application
Forest Management Unit
Forest Type
All forest types (natural and planted)
Primary Designated Function
Protection of soil and water
Management Responsibility