Publication Date

Spring 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies


William Russell


Forest, Logging, Recovery, Redwoods, Second-growth, Sequoia sempervirens

Subject Areas

Forestry; Ecology; Environmental science


The natural recovery of coast redwood forests following a logging event is not fully understood. Recent studies, in the redwood central range, have found that un-restored and unmanaged second-growth forest stands can begin to recover and exhibit characteristics of old-growth stands within 100 years or less. The goal of this study was to determine if redwood stands in their southern range are recovering naturally. A total of 160 sample plots were selected randomly within old-growth and second-growth study sites. The data collected included stand density, tree size structure, canopy cover, species diversity, and species composition. Special habitat features were analyzed and included measurements of snags, large woody debris (LWD), fire hollows, and observations of reiterated trunks in second-growth stands. Mean comparisons and trends among the second-growth stands and old-growth stands were analyzed to determine the stage of development of second-growth stands. The second-growth stands were also examined to see if they exhibited old-growth characteristics. Results demonstrated that several stand characteristics were recovering naturally and that second-growth forests appear to be progressing through the stand development stage of understory reinitiation. These findings suggest that unmanaged second-growth redwood stands have the potential for natural recovery in their southern range.