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Last of its Kind: The Great Bear Rainforest

Written by Michelle Brown

The Great Bear Rainforest is the largest intact temperate rainforest on the planet. But what does that mean? Or look like?


Seeing the impressive views from above the forest gives some sense of the brilliance and significance the Great Bear Rainforest has. A land that is virtually untouched, untamed and unparalled, encompasses 6.4 million hectares (roughly the size of Ireland) is on the frontline when it comes to combating Climate Change.  

The forest acts as a carbon sinkhole, by absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere. An acre of mature trees can absorb in one year, the same amount of CO2 produced when you drive your car 42 000KM (26 000 Miles). The importance of keeping this "last of its kind" forest protected, cannot be denied.

Ancient Sitka Spruce and Red Western Cedars frequently exceed 1000 years old and can attain heights from 60-70 Meters.

Connected as deeply as their own roots, these trees help to support and are supported by the surrounding ecosystem, which includes some of the largest species, and the smallest organisms, on the planet.
 

  Take the Pacific Salmon for example, a "keystone" species, the trees help protect the watersheds that house the spawning grounds the salmon depend on to return to year after year. When the salmon run begins, every carnivore in the forest is drawn to the feast found in the rivers. But they don't eat their meals on the river, but instead retreat deep into the forest to enjoy the the best parts of the fish and leave the rest of the carcass to decay into the forest floor.

A natural occurring dose of fish fertilizer if you will. Now super charged with nitrogen from the salmon, the trees growth is propelled into the skies above.

These types of symbiotic relationships can be seen throughout the rainforest and are more than enough reason for us to continue to protect and save this critical landmass. Large efforts are made by organizations such as Pacific Wild, Raincoast Conservation, Spirit Bear Research Foundation and more. Links to these conservation groups can be found here.