Commercial logging and clearance for agriculture has caused the decline in temperate rain forest habitat.
The loss of temperate rainforests is only beginning to receive attention. Even the existence of areas such as the temperate rainforests of the Pacific coast of the United States and Canada and in New Zealand, Tasmania, and Chile is not widely known. Historically, temperate rainforests also occupied parts of Ireland, Scotland, Iceland, and Norway, whose climates are moderated by the Gulf Stream.
About 30 million hectares of temperate rainforest once covered an area only 4 percent of the size of today's tropical rainforest. A recent study found that only 44 percent of the temperate rainforest remains, mostly along the Pacific coast of North America. The areas that remain are highly productive as well as diverse, playing a critical role in maintaining the health of coastal watersheds.