POWER OF NATURE: Salmon-Heart of the Forest
The Great Bear Rainforest on Canada’s Pacific Coast is the largest temperate rainforest left on Earth. Not only do these immense tracts of woodland purify our water, the ancient trees are also a valuable carbon store, helping offset the effects of climate change. Yet this forest owes its existence to an ocean-dweller - the Pacific Salmon.
The Sagebrush Sea
One of the most overlooked ecosystems on the continent consists of a massive sea of sagebrush that stretches across 11 states in the American West. This spartan yet spectacular landscape supports more than 170 species of birds and mammals, including deer, eagles, hawks, prairie dogs, cranes, songbirds, badgers and rabbits. And among those that have adapted to survive here are birds found no place else – Greater Sage-Grouse. These grouse lead remarkable lives mostly hidden in the sage. But once each year, males emerge for days on end to strut and display as prospective mates for extraordinarily discriminating females, nearly all which mate with only one or two of them. Females must then raise their chicks on their own, with little food, water or shelter to sustain them, while plenty of predators wait for their smallest mistake. And today, they must also contend with wells and pipelines tapping the resources buried deep below. The sagebrush and the grouse carry on, but they’re losing ground.