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Bialowieza Forest / Istockphoto

September 14, 2017. Earth / A Geography of Hope

Temperate Forest

Temperate forests are those forests located in temperate zones of both hemispheres. They comprise broadleaf, conifer and mixed forests.

Cyril F. Kormos, Russell A. Mittermeier, Tilman Jaeger, Brendan Mackey

Temperate forests have been reduced and modified throughout human history more than any other forest biome. It is estimated that there are around 700 million hectares of temperate forests today, some 60% of its original extent, but only 2% to 5% remain as primary forests. Outstanding examples of significant expanses of primary temperate forests include the Valdivian forests of Chile and Argentina, the lesser-known Caspian Forests of Iran and Azerbaijan, and the Manchurian mixed and deciduous forests of China and Korea that reach into the Russian Far East.

Particularly fascinating forest types within the biome include the Mediterranean forests and temperate rain forests. The latter cover the northwestern coast of North America from Northern California to southern Alaska, and parts of the coast of southern Chile, New Zealand and Australia.

While they continue to be subject to deforestation and degradation, the values of the remnants of the once much larger biome are increasingly recognized. Many conservation efforts are being made to secure the last ancient temperate forests before it is too late, including the Australian Mountain Ash forests of southeast Australia, the forests of the Carpathian Mountains in Eastern Europe, and the famous Bialowieza Forest, shared by Poland and Belarus, home of the last wild European bison.

 

This is an excerpt from the CEMEX Nature Series Book “A Geography of Hope: Saving the Last Primary Forests” (2016)

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A Geography of Hope

Saving the Last Primary Forests

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