Protection of water resources
Natural vegetation cover in water catchments helps to maintain hydrological cycles, regulating and stabilising water runoff, and acting as a buffer against extreme events such as flood and drought. Vegetation removal results in siltation of catchment waterways, loss of water yield and quality, and degradation of aquatic habitat, among other things. Vegetation also helps to regulate underground water tables, preventing dry-land salinity that affects vast areas of the agricultural lands, at great cost to the community. Wetlands and forests act as water purifying systems, while mangroves trap silt, reducing impacts on marine ecosystems.