Among the many benefits of healthy forests is their incredible ability to act as natural water filters. Trees remove pollutants from water before they reach creeks and streams by absorbing excess nutrients like phosphorus, nitrogen, and heavy metals through their root systems. This ability to filter water makes forests vital tools for securing fresh, clean water for wildlife and humans alike. 

Forests also prevent impurities from getting into waterways by preventing erosion and runoff. Leaves and branches in the forest canopy interrupt the fall of rainwater, slowing its progress and decreasing rainwater-driven erosion. Once rain does hit the soil, tree root systems help hold it in place, reducing harmful runoff. 

Learn more about how forests help communities in the Wild Hope episode Rebuilding a Forest.