New maps reveal Britain’s lost rainforests

The Lost Rainforests of Britain campaign today launches a new map revealing the extent of Britain’s surviving fragments of temperate rainforest.

The map can be viewed at https://map.lostrainforestsofbritain.org.

The different layers show:

  • Britain’s rainforest zone – where the climate is sufficiently rainy and mild for temperate rainforest to thrive; a region covering around 20% of Britain. This 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. More details in our metholodogy document below.
  • Britain’s rainforest fragments – where we believe to be Britain’s surviving fragments of temperate rainforest. This shows that rainforests today cover less than 1% of Britain.
  • Mosses, liverworts, lichens – you can switch these layers on and off to show public records of different species of mosses, liverworts and lichens that are considered to be good indicators of temperate rainforest.

Because the maps are displaying large amounts of data, they may load quite slowly, depending on the browser and Operating System you are running. If you are experiencing issues, you may wish to try opening the maps in a different web browser (e.g. Safari rather than Chrome, etc).

The GIS maps were built by Guy Shrubsole and Tim Richards of Terra Sulis Research CIC. The interactive online map was built by Blue Tomato Pop.

We would like to thank the bryologist Ben Averis for his kind assistance with indicator species of lichens and bryophytes. The map seeks to build on previous work to define and map temperate rainforests globally and in Britain by Paul Alaback, Dominick DellaSala, Christopher Ellis and others. Full details of the datasets and analytical methods used can be found in our methodology document here.

We would also like to thank everyone who has submitted potential rainforest locations to our separate crowdsourced map of Britain’s rainforests, which we are continuing to compile here.

3 thoughts on “New maps reveal Britain’s lost rainforests

  1. Well done for this conservation project! I just discovered it through today’s Guardian article. I live in Brazil’s Atlantic Rainforest and it’s lovely to see photos and stories of Britain’s Rainforest. I’m sure there’ll be huge support for conserving and expanding it.

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  2. Enjoyed your talk in Taunton last night. A great turn out.
    On your map of rainforests which uses the Ancient Woodland Inventory, you should probably note that the Inventory only records woods of over 2 ha. Any totals of area therefore will be underestimates, although not by a great amount. For Exmoor the difference in using National Forest Inventory (broadleaves) and assuming all is ancient only works out to be 4%. In any case the detail would be lost on your maps!

    Good luck with the rest of the tour. Looking forward to reading the book.

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