A forest is a complex and constantly changing ecosystem dominated by trees. Because of all that flora, forests are often more wetter than surrounding areas with moisture falling as precipitation and then running across the surface of the land as streams, creeks or rivers. Although many people consider them the same thing, it’s the high density of trees which differentiates a forest from a woodland. In fact, in some forests the trees are packed so tightly together it would be impossible for you to even squeeze between them. In these kinds of forests, wildlife is often smaller and lives either high in the canopy or deep below the understory. Coastal forests, like those we’ll examine here, are usually coniferous and confined to a narrow geographical area reaching from northern California to British Columbia.

  • Endangered Oregon: The Northern Spotted Owl and Old Growth Forests

    Category: General Article

    During the 1980s and 90s, the Northern Spotted Owl was perhaps the most controversial animal in the Pacific Northwest. Learn how a small bird of prey became an icon for the protection of a large and ancient ecosystem in this installment of "Endangered Oregon."

  • Redwood Forests

    Category: General Article

    Southern Oregon marks the northernmost boundary of the coastal redwood forests. The trees here grow so large they have the greatest biomass on Earth!

  • Old Growth Forests

    Category: General Article

    Valued as both economic and ecological asset, the preservation of these ancient forests is an ongoing struggle.

  • The Forests Before Us, The Forest Behind Us

    Category: General Article

    Wildfire plays an important ecological role in keeping forests healthy. In Oregon, "old growth forests" may have only been possible thanks to extensive wildfires hundreds of years ago.

  • Mixed Conifer-Hardwood Forests

    Category: General Article

    Providing habitats for hundreds of species and an important economic resource too, these forests once covered 12 million acres in both California and Oregon. Learn how they still play a vital role today.

  • Alder Patches

    Category: General Article

    The a chemical process called "nitrogen fixation," Red Alder trees help prepare the soil for more complex forests to grow.

  • Managed Lands

    Category: General Article

    Managed lands are those specifically administered by state or federal agencies to ensure a wide number of uses while protecting native species and natural resources.

  • Oregon Caves

    Category: Landmark Place

    A national and geological treasure, the Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve is a must-see feature for Oregon Landmark Places.

Slideshow: Forests

  • Ssforest7

    Animals can use the various levels within a forest. This Douglas's Squirrel forages in the understory.

  • Ssforest1

    A lone Herring Gull patrols this coastal forest at the edge of the Pacific Ocean

  • Ssforest2

    Due to the size of the trees, Oregon's forests have greater biomass than any other place on Earth.

  • Ssforest3

    This forested upland is located on Oregon's rainy North Coast.

  • Ssforest4

    The lush and largely unexplored expanse of the Siskiyou National Forest.

  • Ssforest5

    Silver Falls State Park in the Cascade Mountain foothills is famous for its forested trails and waterfalls.

  • Ssforest6

    The trees in coastal forests have special adaptations to help them survive severe weather and salt spray.

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