This paper presents a case study examining the radial-growth history of Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) and Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) trees following known and projected high-wind events along the central Oregon coast. Using tree-ring measurements collected from wind-traumatized trees of both species, we identified periods exhibiting negative (−) and positive ( ) radial growth corresponding to canopy breakage (−) and increased light levels following canopy gap formation ( ). Periods of negative and positive growth were then statistically and qualitatively compared across species and against a period of historically documented windstorms (AD 1895–2003) and a 230-year tree-ring derived windstorm record (AD 1775–2003). Our results revealed: 1) both Sitka spruce and Douglas-fir exhibit radial-growth anomalies corresponding to high-magnitude windstorms during the period of historical period, and 2) Sitka spruce is more sensitive and susceptible to wind-induced canopy trauma and exhibits an earlier onset of post-windstorm recovery than Douglas-fir over a >230-year period. These results are consistent with the combined effects of topography and coastal proximity, each species' habitat requirements, and their physiological tolerances to wind stress.
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Vol. 63 • No. 3