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A Stem Dissection Technique for Dating Branch Mortality and Reconstructing Past Crown Recession

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A stem dissection technique for dating branch mortality and estimating past crown recession was evaluated on 28 Douglas-fir trees from permanent plots in Oregon and Washington. Repeated height to live crown measurements over the past 15 years on each of the 28 trees provided a basis for comparison with the branch mortality dating technique. After each tree was felled in a scheduled thinning, heights to 10-15 consecutive branch whorls below crown base were measured. Sections containing the whorls were then removed and dissected on a band saw to expose longitudinal sections through the encased dead branches. Discontinuities between branch and bole growth rings, corresponding to the delineation between tight and loose knot zones, allowed estimation of years since branch mortality. Past heights to live crown were reconstructed from the branch mortality estimates and whorl heights. Backdated crown base positions corresponded closely with the 15-yr field remeasurements. For. Sci. 33(4):858-871.
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Keywords: Branch and bole annual rings; Douglas-fir; loose and tight knots

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Associate Professor, Department of Forest Management, College of Forestry, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331

Publication date: 1987-12-01

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2016 Impact Factor: 1.782 (Rank 17/64 in forestry)

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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