What is a Celtic Rainforest?
The term Celtic Rainforests refers to the Atlantic oak woodlands which run along the western coast of the British Isles. They form part of a habitat type named ‘coastal temperate rainforests’, which can be found globally from the seaboards of western Canada and Chile, to areas around the Black Sea, parts of eastern Asia, and eastern areas of Australasia. Such habitats are located within the temperate zone, receive moderate to heavy annual rainfall, and have mild climatic conditions.
Tree species which typically make up the Celtic Rainforests include sessile oak (Quercuspetrea), ash (Fraxinus excelsior), hazel (Corylus avellana) and downy birch (Betula pubescens), whilst holly (Ilex spp.) is often found inthe lower canopy. Some of Wales’ Celtic Rainforests are considered to be amongst the best examples of natural oak woodland in Europe. However, it is important to remember that these magnificent woodlands are characterised by much more than just the trees that are present, but also by the rich and diverse assemblage of lower plants which thrive under such conditions – the ferns, the mosses and liverworts (collectively known as bryophytes), and the lichens, not to mention pied flycatchers, bluebells, hazel bushes, shrews, woodsorrel, wood mice, woodpeckers, ferns, mosses, toadstools and oak saplings, which are amongst 1000’s of other living organisms which call the Celtic Rainforests their home.
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