Forest Influences on Climate and Water Resources at the Landscape to Regional Scale
Although it is well known that climate controls the distribution, productivity and functioning of vegetation on earth, our knowledge about the role of forests in regulating regional climate and water resources is lacking. The studies on climate-forests feedbacks have received increasing attention from the climate change and ecohydrology research communities. The goal of this study is to provide an in-depth examination of forest-climate-water interactions by synthesizing recent scientific literature on the influences of forests on climate and water resources from watershed to regional scale. The synthesis paper provides a review of the state of art of our understanding of the mechanisms of interactions of forests and climate and water resources at the landscape and regional scale. The paper presents two case studies that examine the influences of forests on microclimate, watershed hydrology, and regional climate and water resources at a small watershed to region scale using literature from the Coweeta Hydrological Laboratory in the southeast U.S. and a simulation study on the North China Shelter Belt Project. Future research gaps were identified in terms of integrated Earth System modeling to guide forest management for global change mitigation and adaptation.