A Story of Trees: Вода жизни

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 8:45 PM

          Think about what influences water preservation in the world? I mean, really think about what that looks like. OK, you have it? Now, tell me, what kind of tree did you imagine? I am going to take a wild guess and presume that a tree did not come to mind. I don’t blame you, a lot of other things come to mind when we consider what it takes to save water. However, trees play an integral role in the water preservation effort. So, what exactly do trees do for the water I drink? As it turns out, trees play a pivotal role in the hydrologic cycle which filters water, prevents floods, keeps a constant water supply and even keeps our soil from eroding [3]. Further, watersheds depend on the forest to maintain a homeostatic value of the surrounding ecosystem by providing soil stabilization and shelter for native fauna. While it is clear that forests provide important services for humans and animals, there have been dramatic deforestations events in the past few years. You could possibly imagine that we could simply create systems that could accomplish the aforementioned tasks, but this could prove to be incredibly more costly than simply investing in the existing natural infrastructure [3].
           Alright, so if this is the case who is the most affected? I had always imagined that Brazil (with the amazon forest) was facing these challenges most presently. According to the most present data from the World Forest Watch (the diagram below), Russia actually is the hardest hit from deforestation challenges [1]. While forestry provides only 0.8% of the country's GPD, the potential cost associated with deforestation could prove to be catastrophic [1]. Maybe, you're thinking, well that's Russia, how does that effect me? As you can see in the rankings, we don't fall that far behind. In fact, Russia, China, and the United States are all within the top ten countries who are experiencing significant forest degradation. This is all to say that as Russia loses Switzerland's worth of forest (about 40.9 million hectares), they could be potentially facing serious and preventable problems that are expressed economically and environmentally. The effects that deforestation will have on water and the global climate are already taking shape in the form of droughts and increasingly hotter fires [2]. It is then our responsibility to consider serious policy change when it comes the way we think about trees. We can have a real impact in shaping this global conversation with your vote. While politicized, water should be a fundamental right for every human being. Trees are in effect the source of life around the world, so what will you do? 




References
[1] Institute, W. (2017). Russia | Global Forest Watch. Globalforestwatch.org. Retrieved 15 May 2017, from http://www.globalforestwatch.org/country/RUS

[2] Russia Lost Forest The Size Of Switzerland Three Years In A Row. (2015). ThinkProgress. Retrieved 10 May 2017, from https://thinkprogress.org/russia-lost-forest-the-size-of-switzerland-three-years-in-a-row-2d542972109a

[3] Watersheds Lost Up to 22% of Their Forests in 14 Years. Here’s How it Affects Your Water Supply « Global Forest Watch. (2016). Blog.globalforestwatch.org. Retrieved 14 May 2017, from http://blog.globalforestwatch.org/data/watersheds-lost-up-to-22-of-their-forests-in-14-years-heres-how-it-affects-your-water-supply.html

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