Forests and water—Ensuring forest benefits outweigh water costs
Throughout the world forestry programmes are often promoted for their environmental, biodiversity, carbon sequestration, bio-fuel, timber production, amenity and social benefits. Not always are the water resource costs taken into account. This paper discusses the need for an improved forest impact assessment framework to assist policymakers and planners in making evidence-based decisions on forest and land use policy. Although forest hydrology has made major advances in recent years science findings have not always reached the policy domain. Examples of the need for the improved connection of science and policy are given for China, India, Panama, UK and Japan. New tools and approaches are suggested for helping to bridge the research to policy gap and to ensure that forest programmes are set in the context of long-term sustainable land and water management. The paper echoes the call by the International Union of Forest Research Organisations for a task force on forest and water interactions to address these issues.