The rainforest is sometimes called the “lungs of the earth” as it is here that one-third of the world’s oxygen is produced. There are two types of rainforest: tropical and temperate. A temperate rainforest has less biodiversity, less precipitation, is cooler and has slower decomposition, but it is still a magical place. The Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia is the largest intact temperate rainforest on the planet.
The Pacific Coast is home to the Coastal Western Hemlock Biogeoclimatic Zone. It has cool summers and mild winters, and receives from 1.5 to 3.5 metres rain every year. Most of the rain arrives during the winter but the trees are able to extract water from the foggy air and create fog drips.
One of the amazing things about the Pacific rainforest is the giant trees. There is a Douglas fir called the Red Creek Tree in Port Renfrew that is 73.8 metres tall with a 13.3 metre girth! It is likely around 1000 years old. The Carmanah Giant is a Sitka Spruce and is 95 metres tall with a 9.4 metre girth. And the largest tree in Canada is the Cheewhat Giant in the Pacific Rim National Park. It is a Western Red Cedar and is 55.5 metres tall with a girth of 18.35 metres.
“As a resource our forests may be seen as renewable to some degree. But as a biological treasure, part of God’s creation entrusted to our stewardship, our ancient stands are irreplaceable.” – Graham Osborne
This is a nurse log where a new generation is starting its life.
“An inch of soil may take a thousand years to accumulate… dead trees are the life of the forest, but their potential is realized only slowly and with great patience.” – Wade Davis
Moss, lichen and fungi are everywhere in the rainforest. They all play a vital part in its well-being.
You may want to also keep an eye on your feet as you walk along under the soaring canopy because the slugs here are huge.
If you are lucky, you may see a spirit bear. These are black bears who have a white coat instead of a black one. A major food source for the bears in this region is the salmon that swim up the rivers to spawn in the fall.
Activity: Make a list of everything in your house or that you use that is made from wood. This is a good explanation of what wood is and what it is used for: Explain That Stuff. Did you know that over 40% of wood that is cut is used to make paper? And much of that goes into the landfill every year. Read through this list of 30 Ways to Use Less Paper and then make a poster of some ways that you can save trees.