Trees, and specifically forests, play a huge role in the natural water cycle and climate, say the water experts at Green Water Technologies. Over the last 20 years, scientists have begun to pay closer attention to trees’ impact on air temperature, which affects the way water interacts with the atmosphere.
Q: Haven’t scientists always considered trees a factor in climate change?
Green Water Technologies: Yes, however, historically trees have been viewed primarily as a way to generate carbon. However, recent studies suggest that trees have a significant and direct effect on rainfall and cooling, which may actually be more important than their contribution to air quality.
Q: How do trees keep water on the ground?
Green Water Technologies: Trees provide shade, which reduces the amount of sunshine that reaches the ground and therefore also curtails evaporation rates. This provides a cooler and damper setting that has a positive impact on the food-producing ability of the local area. This leads to food security for indigenous species.
Green Water Technologies: As precipitation hits the ground, it soaks into the earth is absorbed by tree roots. This water allows the trees to grow and reproduce. Water is lost through tiny pores called stomata as it traverses through the tree’s trunk and limbs. This evaporation combines with other moisture in the air to produce clouds and, ultimately, rain. Trees additionally keep water close to the ground longer so it can be absorbed and evaporated.
Q: How do trees affect local water quality?
Green Water Technologies: Trees, and especially forest lands, work to minimize erosion, intercept runoff pollution, and leave behind few traces of chemical and nutrient pollution. Forests help lessen the detrimental impact of major floods by absorbing large amounts of water then slowly releasing it back into the atmosphere. Throughout the process, water is naturally being filtered and returning to the earth with fewer contaminants.