Forests and Water Yield

by Nedavia Bethlahmy,

Serial Information: Journal of the Sanitary Engineering Division, 1958, Vol. 84, Issue 6, Pg. 1-5

Document Type: Journal Paper


Over half a century ago (1897) the Federal Government passed a law that provided for the permanent administration of forest reserves carved out of the rapidly diminishing public domain lands. These forest reserves (now called national forests) were established in part to secure favorable conditions of water flows. This law was not passed on the basis of facts established by experiments. But, over a long period of time keen observers of nature had developed a concept that forests have a regulatory function upon streamflow. Thus, with only opinions to guide them, our early legislators passed a law which was far-reaching in its effects. Controlled experiments have now verified earlier concepts that streamflow is regulated by forests. And the knowledge gained from numerous experiments conducted both in this country and abroad has led to a new science of water-shed management; a science that will gain in stature as more knowledge is accumulated.

Subject Headings: Forests | Water yield | Federal government | Streamflow | Water flow | Legislation | Verification | Land use

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