Wouldn’t we be better off using safe methods to increase rainfall instead of cloud-seeding, rain rockets, atmosphere zappers and other weather modification technologies? Scientists have evidence supporting the widespread perception that trees make rain and that by growing more vegetation, we increase rainfall. That’s all well and good in theory. But in the real world, forests are being cleared faster than ever in history! How can we stop deforestation and get more trees and other vegetation back into our landscapes?

By changing the story, we tell about the value of trees!

In one of the least hospitable geographical and political climates in South America, the community have transformed their degraded landscape – nothing but a few blades of grass in the highly acidic soil – into over 8,000 hectares of forest. A big enough area to improve the local climate by generating 10% more rainfall.

How to get more rain

Forest Regeneration at Las Gaviotas Friends of Las Gaviotas)

Using the Caribbean Pine (Pinus caribaea), which doesn’t naturally occur in their region, as their main pioneer species, the community at Las Gaviotas have restored their rainforest. As the pines grow, they produce a shady understory, reduce water loss through evaporation, improve the soil and provide an income from harvesting the resin. Later, the pines are slowly squeezed out by the regeneration of native trees; together with the oil palms and fruit trees, the community plants to produce additional income and biodiesel to transport their products to Bogota.

If they can achieve this – what’s stopping the rest of us? What can we do to make a difference?

Change the Story Told about the Value of Trees

Share with your neighbours, local farmers, staff working for local government, and other regional organisations the evidence that:

  1. Trees and other vegetation increase rainfall
  2. Trees and other vegetation help increase the amount of water infiltrating and stored in the soil and reduce water loss from evaporation.
  3. Trees provide natural air-conditioning
  4. Farmers can strategically use trees within their orchards and fields to provide extra income from timber, fruit, nuts, bee and livestock forage

“Imagine a large tree with a crown of about 10 meters in diameter… In the course of a sunny day, such a tree cools with power equal to more than ten air-conditioning units. The tree is ‘fuelled’ by solar energy, made of recyclable materials, and requires minimal maintenance.” J. Kohutiar, M. Kovác, E. Tóth, 2007, Water for the Recovery of the Climate – A New Water Paradigm. Krupa Print, Žilina

Share these Resources

    how to get more rain

    Videos for gardeners and farmers on drought-proofing

    Handbooks on drought-proofing from Learning from Nature

    Front cover - Drought-proof your Garden Handbook

    Front cover Drought-proof your Farm


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      2 replies to "How to increase Rainfall – Eco-logically"

      • Qazi Siraj ul Hassan

        I have more places for planting.but I’m inexperienced about planting. You give plants for growing.

        • admin

          Hi Hassan – you will need to find trees that will grow well in the growing conditions on your site. Here’s some help with doing this – How to choose plants that work

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