Is New York State Home To A Massive Rainforest?
One of the primary things people are surprised to learn about New York is how diverse the State is. Having lived in many different places around the country, and while there are a few places that New York can improve on, the Empire State is one of my favorites for several reasons.
When you say New York to folks, most people picture the concrete jungle popularized in New York City. But if you spend time in the Empire State, you quickly discover that New York has it all: urban and rural, mountains and valleys, massive waterfalls, ocean beaches, and forests.
Given all of that, imagine my surprise when I discovered that New York's habitat may be even more diverse than any of us may have realized. It is so ecologically diverse that we may even have a good ole North American rainforest within our borders.
What Is A Rainforest?
Before we can determine if New York has a rainforest, we must figure out precisely what one is.
According to National Geographic, a rainforest is an area of tall, mostly evergreen trees and a high amount of rainfall.
Rainforests are Earth’s oldest living ecosystems, with some surviving in their present form for at least 70 million years. They are incredibly diverse and complex, home to more than half of the world’s plant and animal species—even though they cover just six percent of Earth’s surface. This makes rainforests astoundingly dense with flora and fauna; a 10-square-kilometer (four-square-mile) patch can contain as many as 1,500 flowering plants, 750 species of trees, 400 species of birds and 150 species of butterflies.
So, with that out the way, does the Empire State boast any rainforests?
Does New York Have Any Rainforests Within Its Borders
According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Empire State has more than 800,000 acres of forests, another 2.9 million acres of Forest Preserves, and along with another 900,000 acres of Conservation Easements.
In all of this land that exists within New York, Youtuber AtlasPro, who talks all about geography, geology, biology, and ecology, brought up in a recent video that parts of the Adirondacks and Catskill Mountains New York routinely receive more than 55 inches of rain per year.
Add to that the Albany Times Union has been investigating if New York will soon have luscious forests like those in Brazil...
According to the Comparative Ecology of Temperate Rainforests of the
America's report created by the U.S. Forest Service, for an area to be considered a Temperate Rainforest, it has to meet four criteria:
- greater than 1,400 mm annual precipitation or more occurring during
the summer months,
- cool, frequently overcast summers, averaging around 16c,
- wildfires are infrequent and are not an important evolutionary factor, and
- have a dormant season caused by low temperatures, may be accompanied by
This sure sounds like New York, which then makes us wonder, is there a Temperate Rainforest in the Empire State? Check out the video below and decide for yourself.
New York DEC Forest Ranger Rescues Fall 2023
Gallery Credit: Conor Walsh
New York DEC Forest Rangers Provide Winter Safety Sessions
Gallery Credit: Carl