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Know the West

Glimpse inside the last inland temperate rainforest

Endangered species and landscapes vividly captured in a new book.


The last caribou in the Lower 48 lived in a rare sliver of North American rainforest that stretches from western Canada into the Pacific Northwest. Both the species and landscape are endangered. In Caribou Rainforest: From Heartbreak to Hope, biologist David Moskowitz mixes descriptions of caribou and their ecosystem with the history of industrial logging, climate change and habitat loss. Moskowitz’s photographs are real treasures — precious glimpses of the vanishing mountain rainforest.

Moskowitz looks with clear eyes at the mountain caribou’s dire state. If they go extinct, he writes, we should still strive to protect the remaining slivers of rainforest. But it’s too late for the caribou in the U.S.: In January, biologists captured the last female woodland caribou in the Selkirk Mountains, where Idaho, Washington and British Columbia meet, relocating it to a breeding facility in Canada. (See “The last woodland caribou has left the Lower 48.”) If caribou in the Lower 48 are effectively extinct, Moskowitz’s book becomes a fitting elegy for a lost world.

Caribou Rainforest: From Heartbreak to Hope,
By David Moskowitz. 192 pages,
hardcover: $29.95. Braided River, 2018