Hoh Rainforest

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Bigleaf maples in the Hoh Rainforest

The Hoh Rainforest is located on the Olympic Peninsula in western Washington state, USA. It is one of the largest temperate rainforests in the U.S.[1] Within Olympic National Park, the forest is protected from commercial exploitation. This includes 24 miles (39 km) of low elevation forest 394 to 2,493 feet (120 to 760 m) along the Hoh River. The Hoh River valley was formed thousands of years ago by glaciers. Between the park boundary and the Pacific Ocean, 48 km (30 mi) of river, much of the forest has been logged within the last century, although many pockets of forest remain.

Young Sitka spruce growing as an epiphyte on an older tree in the Hoh Rainforest

Flora[edit]

Lobaria oregana on the forest floor

The dominant species in the rainforest are Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) and western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla); some grow to tremendous size, reaching 95 metres (312 ft) in height and 7 metres (23 ft) in diameter. Coast Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii), western redcedar (Thuja plicata), bigleaf maple (Acer macrophyllum), red alder (Alnus rubra), vine maple (Acer circinatum), and black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa) are also found throughout the forest.

Many unique mosses and lichens are also present in the rainforest, such as lettuce lichen (Lobaria oregana), which "requires the cool, moist conditions found under the canopy of old-growth forests" and is consumed by deer, elk, and other animals.[2]

Fauna[edit]

Many native fauna also make the Hoh Rainforest their home, including the Pacific tree frog (Pseudacris regilla), northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina), bobcat (Lynx rufus), cougar (Felis concolor couguar), raccoon (Procyon lotor), Olympic black bear (Ursus americanus altifrontalis), Roosevelt elk (Cervus canadensis roosevelti), and black-tailed deer (Odocoileus columbianus).

The area is also home to the banana slug (Ariolimax columbianus), which has recently been threatened by the encroachment of a new species of slug, the black slug (Arion ater), an invasive species from Northern Europe.[3]

Sights[edit]

The Hoh Rainforest is home to a National Park Service ranger station, from which backcountry trails extend deeper into the national park.

Near the visitor center is the Hall of Mosses Trail, a short trail—0.8 miles (1.3 km)—which gives visitors a feel for the local ecosystem and views of maples draped with large growths of spikemoss. There is also the Spruce Nature Trail (1.2 miles (1.9 km)), which includes signs that identify various trailside trees and plants.

Gallery[edit]

See also Media related to Hoh Rainforest at Wikimedia Commons

In fiction[edit]

  • The Other (2008) by David Guterson centers on a young man who chooses to live in isolation in the Hoh Rainforest, and who comes to be known as "The Hermit of the Hoh."

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Visiting the Hoh Rain Forest". Olympic National Park. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ Bolen, E.G. (1998). Ecology of North America. John Wiley & Sons. p. 346. ISBN 0-471-13156-3. 
  3. ^ Cowie R. H., Dillon R. T., Robinson D. G. & Smith J. W. (2009). "Alien non-marine snails and slugs of priority quarantine importance in the United States: A preliminary risk assessment". American Malacological Bulletin 27: 113–132. PDF.

External links[edit]


Coordinates: 47°51′41.2″N 123°55′28.8″W / 47.861444°N 123.924667°W / 47.861444; -123.924667