Introduction

When one says "rainforest", you automatically think of Brazil and the Amazon Rainforest. You'd never relate that word to the cold, snowy country of Canada, would you?

Believe it or not, Canada has its very own rainforest on its west coast in British Columbia. What's different between Brazil and Canada is that Brazil's rainforests are tropical ones; they are moist, broadleaf forests between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn with plenty of rainfall. A range map of the Temperate Rainforest biome. The rainforest in Canada is a temperate rainforest. In a nutshell, a temperate rainforest is a forest that is located outside of the areas confined by the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn and receives heavy rainfall but has milder temperatures than tropical rainforests - around 15C (or 60F) on average.

The Pacific coast of the North American continent is home to one-quarter of the remaining coastal Temperate Rainforest areas in the world and is the largest intact tract left on Earth. The green areas in the map to the left shows the area this biome includes. The Temperate Rainforests of the Pacific Northwest coast developed where moisture-rich air masses from the Pacific Ocean rise and become trapped by the coastal mountain ranges in Oregon and Washington state. The moisture then condenses and returns to earth in the form of heavy precipitation. These forests grow in a narrow stretch of land that includes northern California, western Oregon and Washington and continues north through British Columbia, Canada. Small areas of this biome are also found in the Rocky Mountain areas of northwestern Montana at its border with Canada. However, the largest remaining portion of the North American Temperate Rainforest is found in Olympic National Park in northwestern Washington.