Deforestation not the Culprit in Bangladesh Floods

International aid agencies are promoting unscientific solutions to theseasonal flooding that ravages people and livestock in Bangladesh and India, according to a UC Davis geology professor and his colleagues. Proposed flood control and water diversion projects are based upon the unsubstantiated notion that deforestation and harmful farming techniques by Nepalese subsistence farmers in the Himalayas have exacerbated the flooding. The idea is not supported by any real data, according to Jack Ives, president of the International Mountain Society and coordinator of the Mountain Ecology and Sustainable Development Project of United Nations University. The massive flooding and erosion are natural phenomena caused by the region's rivers, terrain, seismic activity and rainfall, according to Ives. Most of the deforestation in Nepal occurred prior to the 20th century, and the increasing destruction of people and property is a result of deeper human penetration of historic floodplains. The planned remedies would disrupt a vital ecosystem in which floods play an essential role, Ives says.

Media Resources

Andy Fell, Research news (emphasis: biological and physical sciences, and engineering), 530-752-4533,