Climatic variability is recurrently threatening water supplies across the globe, and future climate change and land degradation will put even more pressure on water supplies and land resources. Land degradation includes deforestation, slash-and-burning, expansion of cultivation, increasing water runoff and erosion, and soil degradation. Land degradation is, together with climate change, named as the biggest global threat to sustainable development.
But recent success stories from around the world show that forest cover is key to tackle land degradation in relation to climate change. Forest cover slows down rainfall erosivity, runoff, sheet erosion and gullying, and is thus crucial to fight land degradation and raise plant and crop productivity. Forest cover is also crucial to climate change adaptation, through its positive hydrological impacts on the groundwater level. And importantly, forest cover is also crucial for climate change mitigation, as trees and forest soils capture carbon dioxide and take it out of the atmosphere.