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Structure and dynamics of an upland old- growth forest at Redwood National Park, California

June 23, 2011

Many current redwood forest management targets are based on old-growth conditions, so it is critical that we understand the variability and range of conditions that constitute these forests. Here we present information on the structure and dynamics from six one-hectare forest monitoring plots in an upland old-growth forest at Redwood National Park, California. We surveyed all stems =20 cm DBH in 1995 and 2010, allowing us to estimate any systematic changes in these stands. Stem size distributions for all species and for redwood (Sequoia sempervirens (D. Don) Endl.) alone did not appreciably change over the 15 year observation interval. Recruitment and mortality rates were roughly balanced, as were basal area dynamics (gains from recruitment and growth versus losses from mortality). Similar patterns were found for Sequoia alone. The spatial structure of stems at the plots suggested a random distribution of trees, though the pattern for Sequoia alone was found to be significantly clumped at small scales (< 5 m) at three of the six plots. These results suggest that these forests, including populations of Sequoia, have been generally stable over the past 15 years at this site, though it is possible that fire exclusion may be affecting recruitment of smaller Sequoia (< 20 cm DBH). The non-uniform spatial arrangement of stems also suggests that restoration prescriptions for second-growth redwood forests that encourage uniform spatial arrangements do not appear to mimic current upland old-growth conditions.

Publication Year 2011
Title Structure and dynamics of an upland old- growth forest at Redwood National Park, California
Authors Philip J. van Mantgem, John D. Stuart
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Index ID 70157547
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Ecological Research Center