The State of BC’s Forests The Indicators
Water — PDF print version
Indicator 8 – Water
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Note: This indicator will be addressed fully, with detailed
information and an assessment, in a future edition of the report.
Why is this important?
Water is essential for sustaining forests, other ecosystems and a wide range
of human activities. Forestry can affect water quantity and quality.
- Freshwater resources sustain human, animal and plant populations. They
supply water for drinking and other domestic and industrial needs.
- British Columbia has abundant sources of fresh water, but supply in some
areas is limited. In the future, competition for fresh water is expected to
increase as demand outstrips readily available supply.
- Forest soil stores and filters fresh water. Forest vegetation plays a
vital role in protecting the quantity, quality and timing of water flows.
- Forest and range activities such as road construction and maintenance,
log hauling, use of herbicides, fertilizing and cattle grazing can decrease
water quality with sedimentation and pollution. Extensive clearcutting
within a watershed can change water levels. These activities can also modify
aquatic habitats, affecting populations of fish and other species. Careful
management and monitoring can minimize these impacts.
- Timber harvesting, fires and the current mountain pine beetle epidemic
affect water quantity and quality (see Ecosystem dynamics,
and Timber harvest).
- Water quantity and quality, and the timing of water flows, can affect
ecosystem functions (see Ecosystem diversity,
Species diversity and Soil).
- Better understanding of watershed function and forest ecosystems enables
forest managers to minimize impacts on water (see Knowledge).
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