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Forests 2014, 5(2), 256-268; doi:10.3390/f5020256
Article

Structure and Composition of Old-Growth and Unmanaged Second-Growth Riparian Forests at Redwood National Park, USA

1,*  and 2
1 Department of Forest Management, University of Montana, 32 Campus Drive, Missoula, MT 59812, USA 2 Stillwater Sciences, 850 G Street, Suite K, Arcata, CA 95521, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 December 2013 / Revised: 1 February 2014 / Accepted: 11 February 2014 / Published: 20 February 2014
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Abstract

Restoration of second-growth riparian stands has become an important issue for managers of redwood (Sequoia sempervirens [D. Don] Endl.) forest reserves. Identifying differences between old-growth and second-growth forest vegetation is a necessary step in evaluating restoration needs and targets. The objective of this study was to characterize and contrast vegetation structure and composition in old-growth and unmanaged second-growth riparian forests in adjacent, geomorphologically similar watersheds at Redwood National Park. In the old-growth, redwood was the dominant overstory species in terms of stem density, basal area, and importance values. Second-growth was dominated by red alder (Alnus rubra Bong.), Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii [Mirbel] Franco), and redwood. Understory species were similar in both forests, with several key differences: Oxalis oregana Nutt. and Trillium ovatum Pursh had greater importance values in the old-growth, and Vaccinium parvifolium Sm., Dryopteris spp. and sedges Carex spp. had greater importance values in the second-growth. Notable differences in structure and composition suggest that restoration practices such as thinning could expedite the acquisition of old-growth characteristics in second-growth riparian forests.
Keywords: forest stand dynamics; Sequoia sempervirens; late successional forest; ecological restoration forest stand dynamics; Sequoia sempervirens; late successional forest; ecological restoration
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).
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Keyes, C.R.; Teraoka, E.K. Structure and Composition of Old-Growth and Unmanaged Second-Growth Riparian Forests at Redwood National Park, USA. Forests 2014, 5, 256-268.

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