Date of Award:
Master of Science (MS)
Steve Voelker (Committee Chair), Larissa Yocom (Committee Co-Chair)
James A. Lutz
Coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) is the tallest species in the world, frequently attaining heights greater than 300 ft. The unique characteristics of the redwoods has led to the establishment of several preservation areas including national and state parks. However, abrupt forests edges created by previous logging and landcover changes has left the remaining stands exposed to elevated temperature, sunlight, and wind intensities, thereby making redwoods along the forest edge more susceptible to windthrow and drought stress. Despite the rarity of old-growth coast redwood forests and their ecological and cultural significance, very few studies have investigated how forests edges have impacted the productivity and health of these forests. In these studies, we combine dendrochronology with remote sensing methods to better understand the spatial and temporal patterns of redwood stress and how it has been impacted by habitat fragmentation. In the first study, we investigated how a previous road expansion has impacted the growth and drought stress of nearby redwoods. In the second study, we mapped declines in redwood crown health to better understand the relationship between crown health and environmental variables such as distance to forest edge, local tree density, and overall tree height. Our results indicated that previous road expansions caused growth declines in adjacent trees and caused elevated drought stress in the subsequent decades. Our results also indicated that taller trees were more susceptible to declines in crown health and crown dieback was found in higher concentrations where multiple roads and previously logged areas intersect old-growth stands.
Dangerfield, Cody R., "Influences of Forest Edges on the Growth and Health of Old-Growth Coast Redwood Forests" (2020). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 7971.
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