Amazing Facts About Temperate Rainforests
Temperate Rainforests are Wet!
- Annual precipitation is usually at least 2,000 millimetres (that's 2 metres or 80 inches/6.5 feet). But many temperate rainforests are much wetter than that.
- In 1995, the Clayoquot River Valley in Clayoquot Sound got 6,460 millimetres (6.5 metres or 21 feet) of rain.
- In 1931, Henderson Lake in Barkley Sound received 8,123 millimetres (8 metres or 26.5 feet) of rain. Barkley Sound is on the west coast of Vancouver Island, just south of Clayoquot Sound. In 1996, Henderson Lake recorded even more precipitation -- 9,027 millimetres (9 metres or 29.5 feet)!
Sydney Valley Temperate Rainforest - Photo by Garth Lenz
Temperate Rainforests Grow BIG Ancient Trees!
- On the west coast of North America, Western red cedars and yellow cedars can live up to about 2,000 years. A yellow cedar in southern coastal BC is known to be 1,835 years old.
- Western red cedar trunks can attain a diameter of 6 metres (20 feet).
- In northern California, coastal redwoods can grow almost 120 metres (400 feet) tall.
- The alerce tree in Chile can live up to about 4,000 years. One alerce is known to have lived more than 3,600 years, as calculated from the tree rings in its stump.
- Temperate rainforests are one of the most productive ecosystems on earth in terms of biomass -- weight of organic matter per unit area. They accumulate as much as 500 to 2,000 metric tons of organic matter per hectare.
Temperate Rainforests are Rare and Endangered!
- Temperate rainforests are naturally rare -- they originally occupied only a fraction of one percent of the earth's land surface.
- About 55% of the earth's temperate rainforest has been destroyed, making these forests even more rare.
- Temperate rainforests are one of the most endangered forest types in the world, more endangered than tropical rainforests.
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