Deforestation damages the well-being and livelihoods of billions of people worldwide (1–3). One of the most direct impacts is a change in hydrological cycles, leading to a higher incidence and frequency of devastating floods (defined as the rising of water bodies and their overflowing onto normally dry land) (4). Floods kill or displace millions of people annually and cause billions of dollars in damage to property and infrastructure, with the most severely affected being the world's poorest from mainly developing tropical countries (4) (Fig. 1). Yet ironically, the most immediate (and often only feasible) option to increase personal and local societal capital available to these disadvantaged people is to continue destroying the very resource on which the long-term persistence and strength of their economies depend—the surrounding forests.
- Policy Makers