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Temperate rainforests can be found in Australia, New Zealand, Chile and along some parts of the coasts of Norway, Japan and Great Britain, but fully two-thirds of the total 75 million acres of forest can be found on the Northwest coast of North America. In the Pacific Northwest, conifers, with their needle leaves, are one thousand times more numerous than broad leaved trees: their shape is an adaptation allowing maximum surface area to be exposed to sunlight. Temperate rainforest trees can grow extremely large (see Activity 1.4 in the LFRF Teachers Guide). A single Douglas Fir can hold 5,000 gallons of water!
Temperate rainforests are like tropical rainforests in that both have multilayered growth in a distinctive canopy and understory structure, and mutualistic species such as epiphytes. They are unlike in that temperate rainforests have much more ground cover and richer soils. But both forest systems, tropical and temperate, are similar in that their future existence depends upon our understanding of their nature and value to our planet.