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Puget lowland forests (WWF ecoregion NA0524) View National Geographic WildWorld profile,(WildWorld home), View  WWF Wildfinder animal species list (WildFinder home)

Takoma Narrows, Washington
Tacoma Narrows, Washington
(c) 2005 Steven J. Baskauf

Puget lowland forests map
Source of bioregions data: Olson, D. M. and E. Dinerstein. The Global 200: Priority ecoregions for global conservation. (PDF file) Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 89:125-126.

Distinctiveness (1=highest,4=lowest): 4 (nationally important)
Rain shadow effects of the Olympic Mountains have produced widely ranging rainfall across the ecoregion.  Thus there are coniferous forests, oak groves, prairies, and swamps.*

Conservation Status (1=most endangered, 5=most intact): 1 (critical)
Only 5% of the original habitat remains and it is heavily altered.   This region lies in the most heavily populated area of Washington and British Columbia.  Urbanization and agriculture are major threats to the remaining habitat.*

Characteristic species*
 
Thuja plicata  (western red cedar)
Abies grandis  (grand fir)

Polystichum munitum (sword fern)

Tsuga heterophylla  (western hemlock)
Pseudotsuga menziesii  (Douglas fir)
Quercus garryana  (Oregon white oak)
Cornus nuttallii  (Pacific dogwood)
Arbutus menziesii  (Pacific madrone)
Pinus ponderosa  (ponderosa pine)
Pinus contorta  (lodgepole pine)
Pinus monticola  (western white pine)
Gaultheria shallon  (salal)

Juniperus scopulorum (Rocky Mountain juniper)

Populus tremuloides  (quaking aspen)

Betula papyrifera (paper birch)

Associated habitats
Because of development and logging in this ecoregion, it is difficult to locate examples of undisturbed habitats.

Coast, Tacoma Narrows, Washington

coast, Takoma Narrows, Washington coast, Takoma Narrows, Washington
(c) 2005 Steven J. Baskauf  hires  hires

Commercial forest, U.S. 101 and Rt. 104, Olympic Peninsula, Washington

mixed forest, eastern Olympic Peninsula, Washington timber harvest, eastern Olympic Peninsula, Washington
Left: mixed forest of Acer macrophyllum (bigleaf maple), Abies grandis (grand fir), Thuja plicata (western red cedar), and others.  Right: commercial logging operation  (c) 2005 Steven J. Baskauf  hires  hires

Mixed forest fragment, Skagit River valley, Skagit Co., Washington

mixed forest, Skagit River valley, Washington mixed forest, Skagit River valley, Washington
(c) 2005 Steven J. Baskauf  hires  hires

Roadside, Tacoma, Washington

roadside, Takoma, Washington
Prairies were once present in Tacoma, but they have been largely destroyed by urbanization.  (c) 2005 Steven J. Baskauf  hires

Dry forest, Port Angeles, Olympic Peninsula, Washington

Dry forest, Port Angeles, Olympic Peninsula, Washington
In the rain shadow on the northeast side of the Olympic Mountains, annual rainfall can be as low as 40 cm per year, in stark contrast to the 500 or more cm of rainfall of the lush rainforests on the western side of the mountains.  (c) 2005 Steven J. Baskauf  hires

* Ricketts, T.H., E. Dinerstein, D.M. Olson, C.J. Loucks, et al.  (1999) Terrestrial Ecoregions of North America: A Conservation Assessment.  World Wildlife Fund - United States and Canada.  Island Press, Washington, D.C. pp. 225-227.

Except as noted, images copyright 2002-2005 Steve Baskauf - Terms of use