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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
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 which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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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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