Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.


Plants water the planet

Greening of the planet has increased global surface water availability, but vegetation changes can have diverse local and remote impacts across different regions.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Fig. 1: The effects of leaf area on water availability, defined as precipitation (P) minus evapotranspiration (E).


  1. Spracklen, D. V., Arnold, S. R. & Taylor, C. M. Nature 489, 282–285 (2012).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Te Wierik, S. A. et al. Water Resour. Res. 57, e2020WR029234 (2021).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Cui, J. et al. Nat. Geosci. (2022).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Zhu, Z. et al. Nat. Clim. Change 6, 791–795 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Zeng, Z. et al. J. Clim. 31, 2633–2650 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Hoek van Dijke, A. J. et al. Nat. Geosci. 15, 363–368 (2022).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Staal, A. et al. Nat. Clim. Change 8, 539–543 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Song, C. Prog. Phys. Geogr. Earth Environ. 37, 98–113 (2013).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Link, A. et al. Earth Syst. Sci. Data 12, 1897–1912 (2020).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Tuinenburg, O. A., Bosmans, J. H. C. & Staal, A. Environ. Res. Lett. 17, 034045 (2022).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Arie Staal.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The author declares no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Staal, A. Plants water the planet. Nat. Geosci. 15, 958–959 (2022).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing