Sunday, October 16, 2005

UN & Cifor Find Relation between Deforestation and Flooding is Scale Dependent

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature

"The belief that deforestation causes major floods and increases the damage which they do appears to be widespread.
China's catastrophic floods of 1998, when the Yangtse and Yellow rivers broke their banks, were linked by Chinese officials to deforestation; the environmental group WWF and the Red Cross also drew a causal connection.
Italian politicians made similar statements after mudslides near Naples killed nearly 100 people in the same year.
But the FAO/Cifor report cites evidence from Bangladesh, Nepal, South Africa, Thailand and the US showing that the frequency and extent of major floods has not changed over the last century or two, despite drastic reductions in forest cover.
'I think the belief comes about because forests do help to reduce floods in small areas, and so people assume it must also apply to severe floods in large areas,' said Cifor's director-general David Kaimowitz."