Press Release from Scion
New research is showing how effective forests are at mitigating the effects of extreme rainfall during severe weather events.
High resolution data collected from Mahurangi Forest near Auckland during the Auckland Anniversary weekend floods and Cyclone Gabrielle shows that nearly 60% of the rain that fell during those events was stored within the forest rather than flowing immediately across the ground and into waterways. The forest catchment was in effect acting as a sponge, holding on to water that would otherwise have added to flooding downstream.
The data were collected as part of the Scion-led five-year $13.7 million MBIE-funded Forest Flows research programme, which uses a network of 1717 sensors in 10 forests across the country. The sensors capture data every five minutes, leading to world-leading insights about forest hydrology.
The collaborative programme is led by Scion scientist Dean Meason, who says the analysis is unlocking the mysteries about how water moves through catchments and is being stored, with this year’s extreme weather events providing some unique insights.
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