Did you know that rainforests cover more than two percent of the entire world’s surface?
In North America, there are many different types of rainforest from California to Alaska, but one of my favorites is the Alaskan Rainforest! Yes, there’s a rainforest up in the frozen wastes of Alaska, too. How on earth is there a rainforest up there?
Firstly, a quick video introduction!
And now, here are some interesting facts about this beautiful place:
- Alaska has 17 million acres of forests and swamps. That’s even larger than Germany!
- The forest floor is covered with big leaf maples, Sitka spruce trees, and smaller plants like ferns and mosses.
- Alaska’s rainforest is home to millions of animals, including wolves, brown bears, bald eagles, and even giant salamanders! There are many different kinds of birds in the Alaskan Rainforest too. For example, there are about 6 million migratory birds that fly north to Alaska every Spring. They stay for the summer and then fly back south in Fall.
- Some animals have homes in very special places in the rainforest. The beavers will build a lodge out of sticks and mud near one of the hundreds of beaver dams they have made by stacking up logs across creeks. The bird nests (or “cavities” as scientists call them) are really amazing! Many times you might see anold tree that has fallen over and the cavity in the trunk will eventually fill up with water. Some animals like flying squirrels, hummingbirds, and parrots may choose to build nests in this cavity. But imagine how dangerous it would be for them! If they accidentally fall into the water, they could drown or die of hypothermia (when you get so cold that your body starts shutting down).
- When people are picking out their Christmas trees at home during Wintertime, sometimes they pick ones from the Alaskan Rainforest because it makes great firewood!
- Here’s another interesting fact: when oil pipelines were being built through Alaska, one of them broke in 1957. This caused oil to spill over the forest floor! Oil is often bad for animals because it can kill them if they swallow it or get it on their fur, but sometimes oil can be useful. Scientists found that this oil actually helped some of the plants in the Alaskan Rainforest grow faster than usual!
- Alaska’s rainforest is also close to people’s hearts because many different Native American tribes live there. These tribes have lived there since thousands of years ago and still continue to do so today. They are skilled at hunting, fishing, and gathering food from the forests where they live. One tribe called the Tlingit Tribe even has its own crest with an image of a thunderbird! There are many wonderful stories about how this bird brought light and hope to their tribe.
- Here’s another cool fact: Alaska is covered with permafrost! That means that the ground stays frozen all year round. When a forest fire happens, scientists will sometimes use it as a chance to study how plants in the forest respond to changing conditions.