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Pacific Maritime Ecozone

Natural Vegetation and Soil

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Natural Vegetation and Soil

 

          The climate in the Pacific Maritime Ecozone has allowed the most magnificent forests in the world to grow. With the union of large amounts of precipitation and mild temperatures, you are able to find several different types of trees and forests that vary with elevation and precipitation.

 

          There are 5 main forests in this ecozone. They are:

        Western Hemlock Forests- low-lying coastal areas

        Mountain Hemlock Forests- high elevations

        Douglas fir Forests-small dry areas on the leeward side of the mountains

        Arbutus and Garry Oak woodland forest- one of B. C’s rarest forests in the dry rainshadow climate of the Gulf Islands and Saanich Peninsula

 

The last forest is the famous temperate rain forest. It is mostly made up of Western Hemlock trees but also includes red cedar, Douglas Fir, Mountain Hemlock, Amabilis Fir, Sitka Spruce, Yellow Cedar and Alder. This stunning rainforest takes up 106 000 square kilometers of the Pacific Maritime ecozone.

 

          The natural vegetation here is absolutely astonishing. Some trees here have actually broken records. For example, a Douglas Fir measured over 14 meters around and 80 meters high! The worlds tallest Sitka Spruce can also be found here and it is 95 meters high! Also some of the red cedars in the area are 2 000 years old!

 

          All of these spectacular trees are able to grow because of the soil. The soil here is rich and contains a lot of humus which has contributed to the trees having very long lives. However, there are some areas where the soil is not as nourishing, for example if you get too high up (900 m) treeless alpine tundra starts to grow because the soil in that area lacks the nutrients.

 

          Overall the natural vegetation in this area is incredible!

westernhemlock.jpg

Above is a picture of Western Hemlock, the dominant tree species in the Pacific Maritime Ecozone.

sitkaspruce.jpg

A Sitka Spruce, another common tree found in the many forests that are in this ecozone 

redcedar.jpg

Some red cedar trees are over 2 000 years old making them some of the oldest trees in the world!

alpinetundra.jpg

Areas that are over 900 m above sea level do not have good soil content, therefore, alpine tundra takes over.

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