baumzaehlen - Primeval Forests & Their Trees

©2019copyright christoph hase

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California, USA


Prairie Creek Valley is probably the only place on earth where three species growing side-by-side reach 90 metres in height. They are Opens internal link in current windowSequoia sempervirens (coast redwood), Opens internal link in current windowPseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii (coast Douglas-fir) and Opens internal link in current windowPicea sitchensis (Sitka spruce).1 Many of the largest S. sempervirens individuals are located in this park, while the tallest trees are located further from the coast2. However, the three tallest measured P. sitchensis specimens are found here, the tallest being 96.68 m 2. S. sempervirens dominates throughout the park. Besides the three mentioned species, Opens internal link in current windowTsuga heterophylla (western hemlock) is a common species reaching the canopy. Tree species diversity is low and most are easy to identify. Annual precipitation is 2000–2800 mm 1 and average annual temperature at the coast 11.5–12°C. Summers are foggy but rainfall low. Due to the moist climate, historical fire-return interval was 500-600 years 3. Prescribed burns are not used4. Some parts of the forests, e.g. those right on the coast, were logged before the establishment of the park.


Off-trail hiking is fun but challenging, due to the dense undergrowth and the many steep slopes. Unfortunately, there is a road running through the best groves. Camping is allowed only on designated sites. The park forms a part of the Redwood National and State Parks World Heritage Site.



1       Van Pelt (2001): Forest Giants of the Pacific Coast. Global Forest Society.


3       Sawyer, J. O. et al. (2000): Redwood Trees, Communities, and Ecosystems: A Closer Look. In Noss, R. F. (ed.): The Redwood Forest. Island Press.

4       Thornburgh, D. A. et al. (2000): Managing Redwoods. In Noss, R. F. (ed.): The Redwood Forest. Island Press.

Official site:

Sequoia sempervirens (coast redwood) dominated forest. Also Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii (coast Douglas-fir), extreme right, and Tsuga heterophylla (western hemlock), the leaning tree. Elev. 140 m.
Sequoia sempervirens (coast redwood) forest. Note the person, bottom.
Sequoia sempervirens (coast redwood) forest. Also Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii (coast Douglas-fir, right background).
Large Sequoia sempervirens (coast redwood) in Prairie Creek valley.
Sequoia sempervirens (coast redwood).
Sprout ring around dead Sequoia sempervirens (coast redwood) tree.
Root plate of fallen Sequoia sempervirens (coast redwood).
Sequoia sempervirens (coast redwood) shade foliage.