Understory Recovery in Coast Redwood Communities: A Case Study Comparing a Naturally Recovering and an Actively Managed Forest
Open Journal of Forestry
Restoration of late seral features in second growth Sequoia sempervirens (coast redwood) forests is increasingly important, as so little of the original old-growth remains. Natural recovery is an effective method restoring many late seral features, and does not require the additional disturbance of active management. In order to better understand management impacts on redwood understory abundance and composition, data were collected in naturally recovering stands and in stands that were
... managed with the explicit intent of promoting old-growth characteristics. Ten 10 m diameter plots with three 2 m diameter nested sub-plots were randomly sampled in two sites within each management type. Results indicate that tree canopy cover, native species cover and richness, richness of coast redwood associated species, and the cover of Trillium ovatum (western wake robin) were significantly higher in naturally recovering versus actively managed stands. In addition, several coast redwood associated understory species were exclusively recorded in the naturally recovering stands including: Asuram caudatum (wild ginger), Prosartes hookeri (hooker's fairybells), Maianthemum racemosum (false solomon seal), Scoliopus bigelovii (fetid adder's tongue), Viola sempervirens (redwood violet); while only one such species was recorded exclusively in the actively managed stands: Trientalis latifolia (pacific star flower). Natural recovery appeared to support understory recovery more effectively than active forest management in this case.