Quantifying the hydrological effect of woodland creation in the Camowen and Drumragh catchments, Omagh, Northern Ireland

There is growing research evidence that woodland planting in the right place can “slow the flow” and reduce downstream flooding events.

This new report by Forest Research is an important addition to the evidence in Northern Ireland. The report models and quantifies this effect in the catchments above Omagh under a range of tree planting scenarios and suggests that doubling the area of forest to 14% of the catchment will reduce flood peaks for an extreme storm (a one in 100 year return period flood) by 8%, and a one in 5 year return period flood by 13%.

Increasing the area of healthy flourishing woodlands is one of the important land use changes that could be considered, combined with better upland heather and heather grassland management, that models suggest are important in reducing the risk of flooding downstream, alongside more traditional engineering measures.

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