Forests play an irreplaceable role in linking the water cycle with the functions of soil. Soil water not only enhances the stability of forests, but also its run-off and evaporation affects the growth of plants in different ecosystems. The forest soil water balance is contextualized within the immediate and more global landscapes, in terms of relations of water to the soil environment and bedrock, participation in the local water cycle within a catchment basin and in the global cycle between ecosystems. Modifications by human civilization can have significant impacts, including erosion intensification, eutrophication, salinization, spreading of single-species plantations, and regime shifts. Forests regulate the movement of water in the soil environment by reducing the intensity of run-off. Such moderated run-off prevents the occurrence of flash floods, maintaining continuous availability of water for plant and human use. Participation of soil water in the cycling of elements in forests is modified by soil organic matter balance. The preservation of hydric functions in forest soils depends on prioritization of water balance restoration in every catchment basin enclosing the local element cycle. More fundamentally, the development of a synergistically interlinked system, centered around the soil-forest-water-civilization nexus, must become an urgent priority.
Part of the book: Soil Moisture Importance