Topics

#ARBatwork #PledgeLessPlastic & 1987 storm 2018 3ATC 50th annual AA accreditation advice AFL AGM Agrilus Biguttatus aid air quality Alert Alex Kirkley amenity Amenity Conference Ancient Tree Forum Annual Awards APPGHG apprentice apprenticeship Apprenticeships Approved Contractors ARB ARB Approved Contractor ARB Approved Contractors ARB at work ARB Magazine ARB Show Arboricultural Association Arboriculture arborists Arbsafe ash dieback Assessments atf Australia award Awards Barcham Trees Bartlett Tree Experts bats beetle beyond ism Bill Matthews biodiversity biosecurity Branches Brexit bs5837 business Call for papers Canker stain of plane carbon CCS Cellular Confinement Systems CEnv Ceratocystis Ceratocystis platani chainsaw chalara Charles charter Charter for Trees chelsea Chelsea Flower Show Claus Mattheck climate climber climbing Colleges committees competiton conference Confor conifers conservation Consultant consultation Coroner Council Countryside Stewardship cross industry news Cryphonectria parasitica Cumbria DART Date for your diary deadwood death defra Design Devon disease document dothistroma EAC East Anglia ecology economy Ecotricity education Electricity England EPF Europe European Arboricultural Council European Wood Pastures exeter Exhibitors Fatality Fera flood flooding Forest Research forestry Forestry Commission forests FSC Fund4Trees funding fundraiser gardening GDPR Geocells Gov.uk government Green Brexit Green Infrastructure Green Infratructure guidance guides Health Helliwell Help Henry Kuppen Horse Chestnut horticulture HRH HRH Prince Charles HS2 HSE ICF InfraGreen International Urban Forestry Congress Investigating Tree Archaeology Conference Irma ISA iso i-Tree IUFC Job Kew land-based Landscape Institute Landscape Show landscaping Lantra law Leaf Minor Lectures London LTOA Melbourne Member Benefit mentor Midlands moth' NASA National Geographic National Tree Week News nominations Northern notification NTIS NTOA NTOC oak 'oak Oak Processionary Moth Oak-boring Beetle obituary Observatree opm Padua parks parliament Perennial Pests and Diseases petition Phytophthora planning Planning Law planting Plumpton College policy poll Power Prince Charles Prince of Wales processionary Protect and Survive protection Quotatis ramorum Registered Registered Consultant Registered Consultants Report Rescue research Resilience response review RFS rhs rigging Rodney Helliwell rogue tree surgeons RSFS Safety Safety Bulletin Saftey Scotland Scottish Branch SDG Accord security seminars Share Sheffield Show Site Guidance skills SocEnv soils South East staff statement statutory STIHL strategy student Student Conference survey Sustainable Soils Alliance Sweet Chestnut sweet chestnut blight TDAG Technical Officers tender Thames & Chiltern The Arboricultural Association The Woodland Trust Thinking Arbs Day Tools TPO Trading Standards trailblazer training transport Tree Tree Champion Tree Council Tree Health Tree Inspection tree loss tree management Tree of the year Tree Officer tree species Tree Surgeons Tree Week tree-felling TreeRadar trees Trees, People and the Built Environment trust' trustee TrustMark UAG Uitlity UK favourite ukas UKWAS urban forest Urban Tree Cover urban trees VETcert veteran trees video Videos volunteer VTA Wales website Western Westonbirt Wharton women in arboriculture woodland woodland trust woods World Environment Day young arborists

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Arboricultural Association.

Share this story

Can we really prevent flooding by planting more trees?

Author:  Professor Roland Ennos
  21/01/2016
Last Updated:  12/02/2016

As heavy rain continues to contribute to the devastating flooding in Cumbria, there have once again been calls – notably from the environmentalist George Monbiot – for the reforestation of our uplands, to help tackle rural flooding. The government has stated that it is funding the planting of 11m trees over the next five years to this end. It has also been suggested that trees could help reduce the number and severity of flash floods in cities, such as those that devastated Hull in June 2007.

To determine whether the humble tree really can provide such robust defences, we first need to understand the role they play in soaking up excess rain water. All floods, whether fluvial (when rivers burst their banks) or pluvial (when rainfall overwhelms drainage systems before it reaches rivers), are caused because the rain cannot soak into the soil fast enough. Instead, it runs rapidly over the surface of the land.

And while climate change is causing bigger and bigger storms, our alterations to the environment – especially to the ground surface – have been one of the major causes of the increased frequency of flooding events in modern times.

Read more