Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub

    Description

    Current methods for determining plant age of shrub species require destructive sampling and annual growth ring analysis on the primary stem. Although individual plant ages can frequently be determined in this manner, the method is time consuming and of limited value for plants that have lost stem wood from stem splitting and rot. Nondestructive methods for estimating big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt.) plant age would be useful in assessing stand age structure and population dynamics at variable spatial scales. The purpose of this study was to test a suite of traits for potential use in estimating mountain big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. vaseyana [Rydb.] Beetle) age. We evaluated traits including plant height, crown area, subcanopy litter depth, percent crown mortality, bark furrow depth, bark fiber length, circumference and diameter of plant basal stem, and circumference of secondary and tertiary branches.We measured and harvested basal cross-sections from163 plants of varying sizes from five locations in central and south-central Utah. Plant age was determined from annual growth rings. Linear regression analyses revealed that stem diameter (r2=0.507P b 0.0001) was the most highly correlated variable with plant age across all sites, followed by stem circumference (r2 =0.474 P b 0.0001), secondary branch circumference (r2 = 0.360, P b 0.0001), tertiary branch circumference (r2 = 0.405, P b 0.0001), and bark fiber length (r2=0.373, P b 0.0001). Results support previous findings that stem girth has value for estimating mountain big sagebrush plant age and that this trait is a better indicator of age than any other tested traits. Although the relationship between stem diameter and plant age was significant, substantial stem size variability associated with plants of the same approximate age indicates that the method is most appropriate when precise age estimates are not required. This technique was developed specifically for mountain big sagebrush, but it is expected that it can be adapted for other sagebrush taxa.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to rmrspubrequest@fs.fed.us to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Landeen, Melissa L.; Kitchen, Stanley G.; Allphin, Loreen; Petersen, Steven L. 2019. Nondestructive age estimation of mountain big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. vaseyana) using morphological characteristics. Rangeland Ecology and Management. 72: 515-522.

    Cited

    Google Scholar

    Keywords

    dendrochronology, plant growth rate, stem diameter, woody plant age estimation

    Related Search


    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page
https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/58609