The temperate forests in western Washington may not have as many
species of plants as a tropical rainforest. But when it comes
to the quantity of plant life per acre, these forests win hands-down.
In the Gifford Pinchot National Forest located in southern Washington
state, many of the trees are over 500 years old.
"Forest" Franklin, a professor of ecosystem analysis at the
University of Washington, has been researching the vital role
these ancient giants play in the ecosystem. Besides understanding
the forest's role in the environment, Franklin is also trying
to come up with ways to keep the forests healthy and preserve
the biodiversity of the ecosystem by inventing better methods
with a thick blanket of trees, today less than 8 percent of the
Evergreen State's ancient forests remain. Satellite images of
the Puget Sound area around Seattle show a 40 percent loss of
tree cover since the 1970s.
the awesome power of the 500 year-old Douglas Fir
In one year,
an average tree INHALES 26 pounds of carbon dioxide - the amount
put out by a car during a 11,300 mile trip - and EXHALES enough
oxygen to keep a family of four breathing for a year. The vegetation
lost in the Puget Sound over the past twenty years would have
eliminated 35 million pounds of pollutants from our region every
the air, insects and animals rely on the temperate forests for
food and shelter. The Northern spotted owl is one forest denizen
that is facing extinction due to logging. With better logging
techniques and an increased interest in sustainable - or "green"
- building - where old lumber and materials are recycled and reused
in new buildings, we can hopefully preserve the ecosystems that
makes the Pacific Northwest the natural wonderland that we know
to see what King County is doing to preserve our forests .
To learn more
on sustainable building, visit http://your.kingcounty.gov/solidwaste/greenbuilding/index.asp
find out what you can do!