Herbaceous understory indicators of post-harvest recovery in coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) forests.
Assessment of forest recovery following disturbance is enhanced by the use of biological indicators. One such indicator, the abundance of understory species, was examined in coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) forests using non-metric multiple dimensional scaling (NMDS) and indicator species analysis (ISA). Randomly distributed 10 m diameter circular plots were employed to record the abundance of all understory species across three treatments: actively managed (0 - 45 years since harvest); mature second-growth (~80 - 120 years since harvest); and unharvested old-growth stands. NMDS with perMANOVA analysis signified separation between treatments with the shade tolerant herbaceous species Trillium ovatum, Viola sempervirens, and Oxalis oregana positively correlated with mature second-growth and old-growth treatments. ISA supported the inclusion of T. ovatum, with the addition of Prosartes hookerii, as indicators of mature second-growth and old-growth. Both NMDS and ISA specified associations for Ceanothus thyrsiflorus and Stachys bullata with actively-managed stands. Occurrence of non-natives was low across treatments, though significantly higher on actively managed stands, with the shade intolerant invasive plants, Cortaderia sp. and Myosotis latifolia, occurring exclusively in actively-managed sites.