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Incredible new interactive map reveals the location of the Wales’ lost rainforests – check out your own area

22 Oct 2022 2 minute read
The rainforest map of Wales

An incredible new interactive map shows the locations of the lost rainforests of Wales.

The map which can be seen here is part of a Lost Rainforests of Britain campaign launched to reveal the extent of the surviving fragments of temperate rainforest across Wales, Scotland and England.

Rainforests today cover less than 1% of Britain but many are to be found across the south, west and north-west of Wales.

The campaign is calling on governments to protect and restore Britain’s temperate rainforests.

The different layers show:

  • Britain’s rainforest zone – where the climate is sufficiently rainy and mild for temperate rainforest to thrive
  • Britain’s rainforest fragments – this shows that rainforests today cover less than 1% of Britain.
  • Mosses, liverworts, lichens – which are considered to be good indicators of temperate rainforest.

The map shows that areas where rainforests could be maintained cover only about 20% of Britain – but almost half of Wales. Snowdonia and the Elenydd is considered a major temperate rainforest zone in Britain.

The map was constructed using an ‘index of hygrothermy’ to show gradations of climate, with lighter blues showing an ‘oceanic’ climate and darker blues and purples denoting a ‘hyper-oceanic’ climate.


The map follows a major call to action for the public in May to help map the remaining fragments of the habitat around Britain.

“Historically, temperate rainforests covered a much larger area due to Britain’s maritime climate the habitat has the potential to cover 20% of Britain overall,” the team behind the map said.

“Britain’s temperate rainforests were initially cleared in the Bronze Age and the medieval period, but some were also lost more recently due to forestry policies, and overgrazing is now preventing their return.”

Temperate rainforests occur in mid-latitude, temperate zones, in places which received heavy rainfall due to an ‘oceanic’ climate. Temperate rainforests are very damp woodlands – so damp that plants grow on other plants.

The key indicator of temperate rainforest in Britain is an abundance of mosses, lichens and polypody ferns festooning the branches and trunks of trees.

A guide to identifying temperate rainforest can be found here.

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