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Environmental Influences
The Influence of the Eastern Pacific Ocean on the Coastal Rain Forests of Northwestern North America.
As the author below points out, one of the major influences in the development of the Northwest temperate rain forests is the eastern North Pacific Ocean. We cannot intelligently examine issues about the forests without considering the pieces to which they are attached, both natural and man-made.

The eastern North Pacific Ocean is part of a vast and continuous expanse of water that forms the oceans of the world. The ocean and atmosphere act as a strongly couple system - transferring heat, moisture, and momentum back and forth and interacting with landmasses to create the weather and hence the climate of the earth. In this respect, the eastern North Pacific does not act in isolation. Its behavior is strongly influence by events in tropical, subtropical and subarctic regions.

The coastal rain forest owes its physical and ecological characteristics to the interactive processes that occur between the ocean, atmosphere, and landmasses. Physical energy is transferred back and forth extensively between them: radiative energy, winds, precipitation, ocean waves. Energy is also transferred ecologically via processes such as migrations of salmon and other anadromous species into freshwater systems. (Salmon, 1997, p. 7). "Granted with permission from The Rain Forests of Home, P.K. Schoonmaker, B. von Hagen, and E.C. Wolf, Ecotrust, 1997. Published by Island Press, Washington DC and Covelo, CA. For more information, contact Island Press directly at 1-800-828-1302, info@islandpress.org (E-mail), or www.islandpress.org (Website)."

The Influence of Weather Systems on the Coastal Rain Forests of Northwestern North America
Weather systems directly connect the marine and terrestrial land environments...One of the direct biological links between the marine and terrestrial environment in the coastal rain forest region is the introduction of marine-derived nutrients into the terrestrial system by migrating salmon. Significant amounts of marine-derived nitrogen and other organic materials enter freshwater systems as adult salmon return to rivers and streams to spawn and die. (decaying carcasses nourish Kline, et al., 1990, 1993). The nutrients from bacteria, plankton, young salmon, and other juvenile fish. Plants too use these marine-derived nutrients. In fact, the nitrogen content of the leaves of some trees near Bristol Bay, Alaska, was found to essentially be 100 percent marine-derived nitrogen (comm.). (Salmon, 1997, pp. 20-21). "Granted with permission from The Rain Forests of Home, P.K. Schoonmaker, B. von Hagen, and E.C. Wolf, Ecotrust, 1997. Published by Island Press, Washington DC and Covelo, CA. For more information, contact Island Press directly at 1-800-828-1302, info@islandpress.org (E-mail), or www.islandpress.org (Website)."

Not only are materials transported from marine to terrestrial environments, materials also flow from terrestrial to marine environments. Inorganic (non-living) material such as silicates and iron compounds are eroded away from the land and carried by rivers and winds to the ocean. These chemicals are important to the health and growth of certain marine plants and animals.

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