The Role of Trees in Intercepting Rain

Kamloops, BC (June 22, 2013) – A major research project at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia, investigated the role of trees in intercepting stormwater. Researchers looked at 40 leaf-bearing trees representing 22 species in Kamloop’s emerald island and found that, in general, trees with smooth bark and a narrow shape quickly transfer rainfall to the ground—ideal for self-watering, but not desirable in a harsh rainstorm.

The American beech, with its smooth, waxy bark is the perfect example. On the other hand, trees with rough bark are able to store considerable amounts of water. Some of these trees can take up to six millimeters of rain before transferring to the soil.  This makes rough-barked trees ideal to intercept water from large storms. This includes species such as green ash and red oak.

While the study has not yet been published, it has been presented to the Association of American Geographers and at other conferences. Plans are also in the works to make the research available to landscape professionals and homeowners. Learn more