Leeds Ecosystem, Atmosphere & Forest (LEAF) Centre

Plants and Water

Forests and other vegetation affect the transfer of moisture to the atmosphere through the process of evapotranspiration. During evapotranspiration, the Sun’s energy is used to transfer water from the leaves of plants into the atmosphere through a combination of physical evaporation and biological transpiration.

Scientists from the School of Earth and Environment showed that parcels of air that have passed over forests contain more water than those that have not. This suggests that continued deforestation could lead to a reduction in rainfall, with big impacts on ecosystems, agriculture and hydropower.

Check out the video below, made by the Royal Meteorological Society and based on the work of LEAF scientists: