Temperate Rainforest

There are three types of rainforests: tropical, temperate, and boreal. Tropical rainforests are warm and very wet places found near the equator that receive some 60 to 160 inches rainfall evenly distributed throughout the year. In contrast, temperate and boreal rainforests are found at high latitudes (northern and southern hemispheres), generally near coastlines, and in very wet (40 to 100 inches or more) and cool (average annual temperature of 43- 52̊ F) places that receive up to a quarter of their annual rainfall in the summer, a time when other forest types are experiencing summer droughts. Boreal rainforests are found in northern latitudes and are at the cool end of the temperature spectrum, even cooler than temperate climates. While most of the world’s boreal forests are in dry climates, a small subset with coastal influences are wet enough to qualify as rainforests. Ecologists also have recognized them as rainforests, but the general public is unaware of this distinction or its importance. 

Geos Institute working to save imperiled owls in British Columbia rainforests

Northern Spotted Owl.USFWS“The species is now circling the drain,” said U.S. conservation scientist Dominick DellaSala, who has worked on spotted owls as part his global work in rainforests. “We’ve got to get to the point where we’re not in the critical care unit of a hospital where the patient, in this case the owl, is on life support.”

DellaSala likened the spotted owl to the quintessential canary in a coal mine. The owl is an indicator of a “whole complex ecosystem with all the parts that are in jeopardy,” he said. “This is just one of the parts and it’s telling us we have not done a responsible job of maintaining the old-growth ecosystems upon which the owl and thousands of other species depend.”

Read the full article at The Narwhal

BC Rainforest Scientist Letter

Over 220 international scientists called on the British Columbia government to halt the rapacious logging of temperate rainforests in the province. BC coastal and inland rainforests are globally rare and strategic to Canada's commitments to the Paris climate change accord. Read the full letter here

bc forest logging

Old Growth BC rainforests are among the most carbon dense forests on Earth, playing a strategic role in Canada's commitments to the historic Paris climate change accord. (Photo credit: Conservation North)

Click for the June 28, 2018 press release.

Media Coverage

You can also learn more about this and other temperate rainforests in "Temperate and Boreal Rainforests of the World" by Dr. Dominick DellaSala.

 

Temperate and Boreal Rainforests Book

temperate rainforests bookTemperate and Boreal Rainforests of the World: Ecology and Conservation

Edited by Geos Institute Chief Scientist, Dominick A. DellaSala, Ph.D.

News about the book's 2012 national award, naming it "best of the best" for academic excellence.

Temperate and boreal rainforests are biogeographically unique. Compared to their tropical counterparts, they are rarer and at least as endangered. Because most temperate and boreal rainforests are marked by the intersection of marine, terrestrial, and freshwater systems, their rich ecotones are among the most productive regions on Earth. Many of them store more carbon per hectare than even tropical rainforests, contain some of the oldest and largest trees on the planet, and provide habitat for scores of rare and unique species including some with affinities dating back to the supercontinent Gondwanaland and when dinosaurs were king.

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Rainforests Play a Pivotal Role in Stabilizing the Global Climate

temperate rainforests carbon storageGiven temperate and boreal rainforests are very wet places and trees are relatively long-lived they are highly productive ecosystems that store carbon for centuries in massive trees, dense foliage, and productive soils. In fact, these rainforests are among the world’s champions in storing carbon.  In 2007, these cool-weather rainforests contained roughly 196 gigatonnes of carbon – the equivalent of more than six times the total annual carbon dioxide emissions from human activities.

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