This story originally appeared on CurrentCast and is republished here with permission.
Tree-lined streams aren’t just pretty—healthy trees also make for healthier streams. How’s that, you ask?
A review of more than 200 studies about streams led Bern Sweeney, PhD, director and senior research scientist of Pennsylvania’s Stroud Water Research Center, to an intriguing conclusion.
“If we had 100 feet of forest on either side of any given stream, we would be able to put that stream in a much better condition to support wildlife, to be swimmable, to be fishable—but also to provide the ecosystem services that we desperately need.”
He says trees help improve the health of the stream by capturing runoff and providing shade and food for aquatic animals. As a result, the stream is better able to process fertilizers, toxins, and other pollutants—providing a cleaner, healthier water supply we can all appreciate.
- Understand the science behind riparian forest buffers with info from Virginia Cooperative Extension
- Dig into the USDA’s table of contents on how forest buffers protect and enhance water resources
- Get the facts—what exactly is a riparian zone? Shout out to Sea Grant Connecticut
- Read up: “How Many Trees Does it Take to Protect a Stream?” from the Stroud Water Research Center
The fine print
- This segment was produced in partnership with Cornell’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future