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According to widely held belief, annual evapotranspiration (ET) for broadleaf forests is less than that for coniferous forests, resulting in higher annual runoff for broadleaf forests. We processed 82 catchment runoff and 126 interception loss data from temperate regions and found that although the belief is valid under conditions of broadleaf deciduous forests and high winter precipitation (e.g. the United States), it is invalid under conditions of broadleaf evergreen forests (e.g. New Zealand) or low winter precipitation (e.g. Japan). Thus, forest management policies based on this belief should be reconsidered on the basis of our results for regions with broadleaf evergreen forests or low winter precipitation. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.