Temperate rain forest

From Academic Kids

Temperate rain forests are coniferous or broadleaf forests that occur in the mid-latitudes in areas of high rainfall.

Temperate rain forests are distinguished from other temperate forests by a few factors:

  • Rainfall: high rainfall (minimum 2000-3000 mm/year, depending on latitude), usually from moisture-laden winds off the ocean.
  • Proximity to the ocean: temperate rain forests depend on the proximity to the ocean to moderate seasonal variations in temperature, creating milder winters and cooler summers than continental-climate areas. Many temperate rain forests have summer fogs that keep the forests cool and moist in the hottest months.
  • Coastal mountains: temperate rain forests occur where mountains ranges are close to the coast; coastal mountains increase rainfall on the ocean-facing slopes.

Temperate rain forests may be predominantly coniferous, broadleaf, or mixed forests, and occur in Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests and Temperate coniferous forests ecoregions.

The temperate coniferous rain forests sustain the highest levels of biomass in any terrestrial ecosystem and are notable for trees of massive proportions, including Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum), Coast Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis), Alerce (Fitzroya cupressoides) and Kauri (Agathis australis). These forests are quite rare, occurring in small areas of Western North America, southwestern South America and northern New Zealand.

Temperate forests cover a large part of the globe, but temperate rain forests only occur in seven regions around the world; the Pacific temperate rain forests of North America, the Valdivian and Magellanic temperate rain forests of southwestern South America, the Colchian rain forests of the eastern Black Sea region (Turkey and Georgia), the New Zealand temperate rain forests, the Tasmanian temperate rain forests, and pockets of rain forest in northwest Europe and southwest Japan.

Temperate Rain Forest Regions

Pacific temperate rain forests (Canada, United States)
The largest temperate rain forest zone on the planet, the Pacific temperate rain forests occur on west-facing coastal mountains along the Pacific coast of North America, from Kodiak Island in Alaska to northern California, and are part of the Nearctic ecozone. These rain forests occur in a number of ecoregions, which vary in their species composition, but are all predominantly conifers, sometimes with an understory of broadleaved trees and shrubs. Pacific temperate rain forests can be found in the Northern Pacific coastal forests, Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia mainland coastal forests, Central Pacific coastal forests, Central and Southern Cascades forests, Klamath-Siskiyou forests, and Northern California coastal forests ecoregions. The Northern California coastal forests are home to the Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), the world's tallest tree.

Valdivian and Magellanic temperate rain forests (Chile, Argentina)
The temperate rain forests of South America are located on the Pacific coast of southern Chile, on the west-facing slopes of the southern Chilean coast range and the Andes Mountains down to the southern tip of South America, and are part of the Neotropic ecozone. The Valdivian rain forests are dominated by broadleaf southern beech (Nothofagus), but include many conifers as well. The Valdivian rain forests occur in the Valdivian temperate rain forests and Magellanic subpolar forests ecoregions.

New Zealand temperate rain forests (New Zealand)
The temperate rain forests of New Zealand occur on the western shore of New Zealand's South Island. The forests are made up of coniferous podocarps and broadleaf evergreen trees; the podocarps are dominant at lower elevations, while southern beech becomes dominant on higher slopes and in the cooler southernmost rain forests. Ecoregions include the Fiordland temperate forests and Westland temperate forests.

Tasmanian temperate rain forests (Australia)
Tasmania's west coast is home to the Tasmanian temperate rain forests ecoregion. They are mixed forests, with broadleaf southern beech and conifers, including Huon Pine (Lagarostrobos franklinii), and King Billy Pine (Athrotaxis selaginoides).

Colchian rain forests (Georgia, Turkey)
The Colchian rain forests are found around the southeast corner of the Black Sea, and are part of the Euxine-Colchic deciduous forests ecoregion, together with the drier Euxine forests further west. The Colchian rain forests are mixed, with deciduous alder, hornbeam, Oriental Beech (Fagus orientalis), and chestnut together with evergreen Nordmann Fir (Abies nordmanniana, the tallest tree in Europe at 78m), Caucasian Spruce (Picea orientalis) and Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris).

Japanese temperate rain forests (Japan)
Southwestern Japan

Northwest Europe temperate rain forests
Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Iceland; mostly gone.


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