How our Pacific Northwest Rainforest is Unique

Fall colors on the forest floor.

Fall colors on the forest floor.

It’s hard to imagine, as you sit enjoying your dinner of chicken n dumplings that the view outside your window started taking shape over two hundred million years ago.

Outside the windows of Tad’s you can see the results of a revolution that began long before Tad’s was built in the 1940’s: the flowering plants’ revolution. Two hundred million years ago, in pre-history, flowering plants started out-competing conifers for sunlight and water. Flowering plants have an advantage because, unlike conifers, they only invest energy in a seed after it has been fertilized, whereas confers provide energy for each seed regardless of whether it is fertilized or not.

However our home, in the temperate rainforests of the Pacific Northwest, is unique because this is the only place that is both temperate and where conifers have truly triumphed. If it weren’t for our status as a temperate rainforest, the conifers would have died out in this area a long time ago. They would have been pushed up into the cold mountains as they have been in other area of the world. However, because there is abundant rainfall, the advantages of flowering plants have not been enough to de-throne the conifer in this region.

There are many species of flowering plants outside your window at Tad’s: Alders, Vine Maple, Cotton Woods, (nonnative Bamboos), and maybe even some Rhododendrons. These are typically understory and riverside species and are not dominant in undisturbed old-growth forests in our area. (Old growth forests are dominated by evergreens.)

Another thing that makes the Northwest unique is the amount of woody bio-mass in our forests. This means the amount of biological material, made of wood (not leafy material,) is higher than any other region on the planet. This is a factor that is truly special about this area, not only as valuable logging land, but as a bio-region that is truly like no other on the planet. We have more woody bio-mass than even the tropical rain forests of South America!

So look out the windows here at Tad’s and enjoy a view that can truly be found nowhere else in the world