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.
© 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
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