This post was written for global blog action day 2010 in the name of water.
I used this argument over twenty years ago when trying to persuade the local authority of which I was a member to purchase timber products only from sustainable sources. It is still valid today – perhaps more so!
A rainforest is a great reservoir of water. There are millions of litres of H2O stored in those trees. They suck it up from the ground and transpire it from their leaves into the atmosphere from where it falls as rain, replenishing the soil from which the trees once again suck it up and so on.
Now cut down a few million trees and what happens? The rain falls on bare soil, runs straight into the rivers which swell, causing floods and, ultimately, causing sea levels to rise. And the crops that are grown on the land reclaimed from the forest do not hold anything like the same volume of water as the mighty trees they replace.
BTW, one of the people who was most dismissive of my case all those years ago is now father-in-law to the British PM!