Keeping forests standing would lessen both the number and size of spring floods in temperate regions, according to a new study in Water Resources Research, by slowing seasonal snow melts. In deforested areas, snow melts faster due to a lack of shade causing at least twice as many, and potentially up to four times as many, flood events. The new research highlights a largely unknown ecosystem service provided by temperate forests: flood mitigation.
"As soon as you get rid of the trees, the snow melts faster," explains lead author Kim Green with the University of British Columbia in a press release. "It's that simple."