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  • Fionna Braganza

How do trees prevent flooding?

Floods in Maharashtra, 2021. Source:
Does it seem like the world is slowly going underwater? From China to Europe, villages to cities – the news is filled with stories of floods and landslides, wreaking havoc on unprepared people.

But floods are totally preventable; especially those brought on by climate change.

Climate change is causing sea levels everywhere to rise, due to melting ice caps. Rising sea levels make storm surges more frequent and more severe, leading to increasing floods in coastal areas. Add to this the fact that our atmosphere is getting warmer each year, holding more moisture. All that moisture has to go somewhere.

So when it rains, it pours!

Trees - reducing flood risk

Did you know that the typical medium-sized tree can intercept as much as 2,380 gallons of rainfall per year? There are several ways that trees work to reduce flood risk:

• Tree roots soak up the water, leaving less to run off into the river.

• Tree roots also prevent soil from eroding into the river. More soil in the river means less space to hold water when it rains – making it easy for the river to overflow its banks.

• As they grow, tree roots create little passages in the soil, so that when it rains, water flows into these passages, instead of straight into the river.

• Raindrops that land on leaves evaporate into the air – so less water reaches the ground.

• When rainfall bounces off leaves, the water doesn’t hit the ground as hard, causing less soil erosion.

The prevention of floods is just one of the many ways in which trees help us.

The easiest way to take climate action is planting a tree. And it doesn’t take too much – all you need is five minutes, and Sustainable Green Initiative will plant a tree on your behalf.



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