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  • (2023) Science of forests and floods: The quantum leap forward needed, literally and metaphorically

    by Henry C. Pham, Younes Alila


    A century of research has generated considerable disagreement on the effect of forests on floods. Here we call for a causal inference framework to advance the science and management of the effect of any forest or its removal on flood severity and frequency. The causes of floods are multiple and chancy and, hence, can only be investigated via a probabilistic approach. We use the stochastic hydrology literature to infer a blueprint framework which could guide future research on the understanding and prediction of the effects of forests on floods in environments where rain is the dominant form of precipitation. Drawing parallels from other disciplines, we show that the introduction of probability in forest hydrology could stimulate a gestalt switch in the science of forests and floods. In light of increasing flood risk caused by climate change, this probabilistic framework can help policymakers develop robust forest and water management plans based on a defensible and clear understanding of floods.

    (2023) Science of forests and floods: The quantum leap forward needed, literally and metaphorically.pdf

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