The Pacific Coast Old-Growth Forest
A Unique Ecosystem
The Pacific coast old-growth forest is a conifer forest, dominated by large,
old trees. The coastal old-growth forests are in the region from southwest
Oregon to southeast Alaska, from the Pacific Ocean to the crest of the Cascade
Range. In this area, the most common type of old-growth ecosystem is forest
dominated by Douglas-firs and western hemlocks, generally 350 to 750 years
old. The youngest old-growth forests are 200 years old, and the oldest are
about 1,000 years old.
- In a narrow zone along the Pacific coast, old-growth
forests are dominated by Sitka spruce and western hemlock, and
at higher elevations in the Cascade
Range, true fir and hemlock dominate the old-growth forests.
Among all the forests of the world, the Pacific coast old-growth forest is
unique because of the size and old age of its trees, the accumulations of biomass
(weight and density of living organisms), and the climate, with its wet, mild
winters and dry, warm summers.
- No other forest has an entire group of tree species
that equals the trees in the Pacific coast old-growth forest for their
size and long lives. Some
of California's giant redwoods are bigger than the biggest Douglas-fir
tree. But several species of big trees grow in the Pacific coast old-growth
not just one. In other forests, some junipers and bristlecone pines live
Scientists have done a lot of research on old-growth forests in the last 30
years. Much of this work was done by Pacific Northwest Research Station scientists.
Click on the other headings on this page to learn more about Pacific coast
Pacific Northwest Old Growth Forest Poster
Synopsis: Lists some of the many plant and animal species that inhabit old-growth forests
in the Pacific Northwest.
Description: This poster features a detailed illustration
of an old-growth forest. Bordering this are smaller illustrations of some of
the many species,
along with their common and scientific names, associated with old-growth landscapes.
Order a copy of this poster