Table of Contents
ISRN Ecology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 725827, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.5402/2012/725827
Research Article

Early-Stage Thinning for the Restoration of Young Redwood—Douglas-Fir Forests in Northern Coastal California, USA

1USDA Forest Service, Fremont/Winema National Forests, Supervisor's Office, 1301 South G Street, Lakeview, OR 97630, USA
2Department of Forest Management, University of Montana, 32 Campus Drive, Missoula, MT 59812, USA
3Department of Forestry and Wildland Resources, Humboldt State University, Harpst Street, Arcata, CA 95521-8299, USA

Received 17 October 2011; Accepted 23 November 2011

Academic Editor: A. Bortolus

Copyright © 2012 Jesse F. Plummer et al. 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.

Abstract

Among forested parks and reserves of the Pacific Coast of the United States, the restoration of late-successional conditions to second-growth stands is a management priority. Some traditional silvicultural treatments may help achieve this objective. We evaluated early-stage thinning as a restoration treatment to facilitate the growth and development of young (33- to 45-year old), homogeneous, and second-growth stands of coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) and Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii). Targeting both stand-level responses and dominant (focal) tree responses for analysis, we compared structural attributes of adjacent thinned and unthinned stands, 12–17 years after thinning. Thinned stands displayed enhanced metrics of tree vigor, growth, and mechanical stability, thereby improving response to future restoration treatments and broadening the range of potential stand conditions. We conclude that early-stage thinning has been successful as a preliminary restoration treatment because it accomplished many initial goals of forest restoration, while retaining sufficient tree numbers to buffer against possible attrition from future disturbances.