Deforestation DOES increase flooding risks

Since Charles Darwin University found in 2007 that “a 10% increase in trees being cut down increased the risk of flooding up to 28%, should we be surprised that a forest that was 93% destroyed (the Atlantic Rainforest in Brazil) just suffered flooding of epic proportions?

Might it be worth putting time, energy and money into reforestation initiatives in the area? We firmly believe so.

Deforestation increases flooding risks

An international team of scientists, including experts from Singapore, has proven for the first time that deforestation increases the risk of flood disasters, which kill thousands of people and cause billions of dollars in damage each year.

With every 10 per cent increase in trees being cut down, the flood risk increases by up to 28 per cent, the researchers from Australia’s Charles Darwin University and the National University of Singapore found. “This has huge implications for governments of developing nations trying to save lives and reduce expenditures,” said its lead researcher, Dr. Corey Bradshaw, associate professor of environmental sciences at Charles Darwin University. He added that the team “found real evidence that deforestation also leads to more intense and devastating floods that kill more people and damage more property.”

No research previously had proved that cutting down trees could lead to more floods. To do so, the team looked at data from 56 developing countries across Africa, Asia and Central and South America, between 1990 and 2000. It found that nearly 100,000 people were killed, and 320 million displaced by floods during this time, with damages exceeding US$1.151 trillion (S$1.7 trillion).

The work, which was published in the scientific journal Global Change Biology, was highlighted in the publication Nature.

See the complete article in The Straits Times (Singapore).



Posted By Anne-Sophie Samjee at 9:31am on October 10, 2007




4 Comments on “Deforestation DOES increase flooding risks

  1. Forgive me, but “An international team of scientists, including experts from Singapore, has proven for the first time that deforestation increases the risk of flood disasters”?!

    And night follows day, and if you don’t water a plant it dies; is this what we depend on? Do we need “An international team of scientists” to tell us what anyone with a minimum of common sense knows – or can figure out???

    No, in my humble opinion it is our inability to take responsibility for our collective behaviour that is the problem, so that we have to wait for a team of scientists to tell us what do do, so that we can blame them when things don’t work out 100 % to letter of what their science has told us.

    Woe the earth, woe humanity.

    Knowledge is good, but knowledge that we don’t really know is better, with all due respect to science and scientists, go out and sit under a tree during a storm and listen, and observe, and reflect, and you know more about the earth, the universe and the beings that inhabit these wondrous places than can be described in a million scientific studies.


    Christer Söderberg
    Open World Foundation

  2. Christer, you and I know well enough. But recently since coming back from this area and speaking with groups, I’m being asked to provide some resources that back up the statement that deforestation causes landslides and flooding. It’s not a question in my mind, nor in the minds of the Brazilians we know. And it was on every broadcast of the Brazilian news, that deforestation had been a strong contributor to the floods. It’s just time, in my work, to collect a few facts that go into our presentations, that help us raise the funds, to plant more trees.

    I’m heading back next month to help with the next 25,000. I don’t need a scientist from Singapore to approve the action. But it might help the investor to know that I’m not just being emotional about the problem.

    Thank you for commenting.

  3. Hi Alana, I know you know, and I agree that we need to shore up our work with science and research, just felt the need to be a little provocative.

    We are preparing to launch Open World Villages and will be looking at some land in the vicinity of Gonçalves, hope to be there end of February/beginning March. When will you be there?



    • I hope to be back by March… same area as before: Guartingueta and Cunha. Hope to be able to catch you in person this time! Thanks for being provocative – we need it!

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