rain forest

rain forest

rain forest: see forest.
The Hoh Rain Forest is one of the few temperate rain forests in the world, and is also one of the largest. It is located on the Olympic Peninsula in western Washington state, USA. Within Olympic National Park, the forest is protected from commercial exploitation. This includes 38 km of low elevation forest (120 to 760 m) along the Hoh River. Between the park boundary and the Pacific Ocean, 48 km of river, nearly all of the forest has been logged within the last century.

Annual precipitation ranges from 3.6 to 4.2 m (12 to 14 feet). Summers are relatively dry, but only by comparison to the rest of the year. The late fall, winter and spring floods cause the Hoh River to regularly erode its banks, change its course, and deposit fresh terraces of alluvium that are soon colonized by Red Alder. Giant trees topple into the river increasing the diversity of aquatic habitats.

The dominant species in the rain forest are Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock; some grow to tremendous size, reaching 95 m (over 300 feet) in height and 7 m (23 feet) in circumference. Coast Douglas-fir, Western Redcedar, Bigleaf Maple, Red Alder, Vine Maple, and Black Cottonwood are also found throughout the forest.

Many native fauna also make the Hoh Rain forest their home, including the Pacific Tree Frog, Northern Spotted Owl, Bobcat, Cougar, Raccoon, Black bear, Roosevelt elk, and Black-tailed deer.

The Hoh Rainforest is home to a U.S. Park Service ranger station, from which backcountry trails extend deeper into the national park. A short, popular trail near the visitor center is the Hall of Mosses, which gives visitors a feel for the local ecosystem.

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