Vol 4 The Rainforest ... Introduction ... Temperate rainforests
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Temperate rainforests

Temperate rainforests are found extensively in the northwestern USA in the states of Oregon and Washington.
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Although most rainforests are found in tropical and subtropical regions of the world, temperate rainforests do exist. Temperate rainforests are found in a strip running down from Alaska to northern California. These rainforest used to occupy a huge expanse, but they are now restricted to fragments protected in parks and wilderness areas. Most of the trees have fallen victim to the lumber companies who were too short-sighted to carry out any replanting until recently. More than 85 percent of North America's rainforests have perished.

There are four distinct types of temperate rainforest in North America. Each of these has its own major tree species and climate. The Olympic forest of Washington is one of the coastal rainforests, receiving 200 inches of rain each year. The redwood forests are found in the southernmost areas, and have less rainfall but are bathed in high humidity and sea fog. The drier douglas fir forests cover the west side of the Cascade mountains, and are often prey to wildfires in fall. The Klamath forest is restricted to the Klamath mountains on the border of Oregon and California and its mild climate supports coniferous and evergreen trees. You can find a map of these regions in the maps chapter of this CD-ROM.

Many of the concepts that you'll read about in this disk are relevent to temperate rainforests as well as tropical forests. Temperate rainforests have a great diversity of animal and plant species, and temperate rainforest offer a variety of ecological niches, from the forest floor up to the forest canopy. Unfortunately there is also one further similarity: temperate rainforests are also threatened by mankind's shortsighted greed.