In this chapter, we review current scientific understanding and hypotheses at seven system delineations that build up from the level of a ‘tree’ interacting with water, to that of a social-ecological system at the scale of landscapes. A system delineation separates internal entities that interact dynamically from external entities that may have a one-way influence but are not significantly influenced by feedback from within the system boundaries. Each system level has its characteristic outcomes or results. The seven (nested) system delineations (Figure 2.1) are: 1. Trees and water: Structure and function of leaves, stem and roots, which are part of: 2. Forests, soil and climate: Sponge effects; part of: 3. Atmosphere, oceans and terrestrial vegetation: Global water fluxes; part of: 4. Precipitation, evapotranspiration and discharge: Water balance and buffering; part of: 5. Dynamic landscape mosaics: Streamflow; part of: 6. Land and water use rights, local knowledge and forest institutions: Landscapes; part of: 7. Social-hydrological systems: Ecosystem services as valued human benefits. Elsewhere in this report, three additional system concepts are used that build on system delineation 7 (and include it as a subsystem) and explore governance of a society dealing with issues of coherence between the sustainable development goals: 8. Contested and evolving forest-water paradigms in public discourse, legislation and underpinning existing policies (as covered in Chapter 1); 9. Climate change policy in its relation to forest and water interactions (as covered in Chapter 7); and 10. SDG coherence in an interlinked, multiscale and polycentric governance perspective (as covered in Chapter 7).
van Noordwijk, Meine; Creed, Irena F.; Jones, Julia A. Wei Xiaohua (Adam); Gush, Mark; Blanco, Juan A.; Sullivan, Caroline A.; Bishop, Kevin; Murdiyarso, Daniel; Xu, Jianchu; Claassen, Marius; McNulty, Steven G.; Ellison, David; Malmer, Anders; Bruijnzeel, Leendert A. (Sampurno); Harper, Richard J.; Mwangi, Hosea; Hacket-Pain, Andrew; Orland, Chloe. 2018. Climate-forest-water-people relations: Seven system delineations. In:Forest and Water on a Changing Planet: Vulnerability, Adaptation and Governance Opportunities: A Global Assessment Report (I.F. Creed and M. van Noordwijk, eds.). IUFRO World Series Volume 38. p. 27-58.