Forests and the Water Cycle

Rainforest Stream2-2012

Stream in BC rainforest (photo by Kevin Klassen)

Water courses through the veins, arteries and capillaries of Earth, nourishing, recycling and communicating. At the heart of water’s engine are trees, pumping, breathing, and dispersing.

Trees are highly evolved water management specialists, writes Jim Robbins, author of The Man Who Plants Trees. “A forest is a soft carpet on the landscape that allows a downpour to reach the ground gently rather than in a torrent.” This one fact reminds us of Nature’s intricate fabric of intelligence and how water works with all the components of our natural world. Trees and forests are the highest functioning members of ecological society, Robbins tells us. They “create rain; render … toxic wastes in the soil harmless; neutralize harmful air pollutants in their tissue; offer shade; provide medicine. They sustain wildlife [with] food and shelter. They are the planet’s heat shield, slowing the evaporation of water and cooling the earth. They generate vast clouds of chemicals that are vital to … the earth’s ecosystems and … to our health and well-being. They are natural reservoirs—as much as a hundred gallons of water can be stored in the crown of a large tree. The water they release is part of a largely unrecognized water cycle.”

Water Is-pBook COVERThis article is an excerpt from Water Is… (Pixl Press), Chapter 2, Water Is Life



Bartholomew, Alick. 2010. “The Spiritual Life of Water”. Park Street 
Press, Rochester Vermont. 338 pp.

Robbins, Jim. 2012. “The Man Who Plants Trees”. Spiegel & Grau, 
New York. 256 pp.


nina-2014aaNina Munteanu is an ecologist, limnologist and internationally published author of award-nominated speculative novels, short stories and non-fiction. She is co-editor of Europa SF and currently teaches writing courses at George Brown College and the University of Toronto. Visit for the latest on her books.


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