North Pacific Hypermaritime Western Red-cedar-Western Hemlock Forest

These are tall coastal conifer forests of the Pacific Northwest dominated by western hemlock and western red-cedar. They are found at low elevations and usually within 15 miles of the ocean, with cool summers, abundant fog, and very wet winters without a major snowpack. Most remnants are old-growth forests with dense understories of evergreen shrubs such as salal and evergreen huckleberry, deciduous shrubs (fool's-huckleberry and red huckleberry), and ferns (swordfern and deer fern). The abundance of western red-cedar in relation to other conifers is one of the diagnostic characters of these forests; the other is the low abundance of Douglas-fir and Sitka spruce. Where these forests are best developed they occur in a mosaic with forested wetlands, bogs, and Sitka spruce forests, which are often found on streambanks and on steep, nutrient-rich soils. For more information, see NatureServe Explorer.

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