Jessica Chappell, a Ph.D. student in the Odum School of Ecology, was quoted in Business Insider about Puerto Rico’s reliance on water from El Yunque.
During Hurricane Maria, winds blowing 130 miles an hour blasted the mountain slopes of El Yunque. Almost a year after the hurricane, the green has returned to El Yunque, but the landscape looks different since more than one in 10 trees in the forest died after the hurricane. If hurricanes, decreased rainfall and increased temperatures continue to affect Puerto Rico, then El Yunque could transform from a rain forest into a dry forest. Many people rely on the water that runs through El Yunque.
“It’s a huge source of water for much of the islands,” said Chappell, who is studying the hydrology of El Yunque and works in the Pringle Lab at UGA. “Twenty percent of the population relies on water that comes from El Yunque. What that actually means is that 20 percent of the water that’s used falls within the forest and then it goes into streams and it’s treated and taken to the people.”