Natural vegetation cover in water catchments helps to maintain hydrological cycles, regulating and stabilising water runoff, and acting as a buffer against extreme events such as flood and drought. Vegetation removal results in siltation of catchment waterways, loss of water yield and quality, and degradation of aquatic habitat, among other things. Vegetation also helps to regulate underground water tables, preventing dryland salinity which affects vast areas of agricultural lands at great cost to the community. Wetlands and forests act as water purifying systems, while mangroves trap silt, reducing impacts on marine ecosystems.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.