Temperate rainforests are coniferous forests occurring in temperate zones and receiving high amounts of rainfall. They are quite rare and only grow in a few regions of the world simply covering 0.2% of the earth’s surface. The largest temperate rainforest runs along the Pacific Northwest coast of North America through British Columbia and into Alaska. There are smaller temperate rainforests in Chile, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand. Temperate rainforests grow along coastlines where the nearby ocean produces large amounts of rain, anywhere from 5-16 feet per year. These areas have seasons, unlike the tropical rainforest, and some even get snow.
The temperate rainforest of the Pacific Northwest stretches down into Northern California which is home to the tallest trees in the world, sequoias and redwoods. Redwoods live up to 2000 years and can reach heights of 378 feet, which is as tall as a 37 story building. Sequoias live up to 3000 years and can weigh 2.7 million pounds. Because of these beautiful giant trees and alien like flora the ‘Endor’ scenes from Star Wars “Return of the Jedi” were filmed in Humboldt County California in the Redwood National Park. Scenes from Steven Spielberg’s movie “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” were filmed at Prairie Creek Redwood National Park. The biomass in the temperate rainforest of the Pacific Northwest is greater than any other place on earth with up to 500 tons of living things per acre.
The Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia is one of the largest remaining tracts of unspoiled temperate rainforest left in the world and home to magnificent animals such as cougars, wolves and, of course, bears. This includes the Spirit bear which is a black bear that is white in color due to a recessed gene and unique to this area. The first survey to systematically explore the forest canopy in the Carmanah Valley of Vancouver Island yielded 15,000 new species, which is a third of all invertebrates known to exist in all of Canada. Among the 15,000 new species to Canada 500 were completely unknown to science prior to the survey.
Close to sixty percent of the world’s original coastal temperate rainforests have been destroyed as a result of logging and development. In British Columbia more than half the original temperate rainforest has been logged and on Vancouver Island only one quarter of the rainforest remains. Conservation and reforestation are imperative in preserving the temperate rainforest remaining in the great Pacific Northwest.
Very few people even know about temperate rainforests. They are beautiful, invalueable and closer then you think.
Please visit SaveTheRainforest.com and show your support for rainforest preservation