Australian Journal of Botany Australian Journal of Botany Society
Southern hemisphere botanical ecosystems
RESEARCH ARTICLE

An assessment of the relationship between tree-ring counts and basal girth of high-altitude populations of Eucalyptus pauciflora (Myrtaceae)

Libby Rumpff A C , Seraphina C. Cutler B , Ian Thomas A and John W. Morgan B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Resource Management and Geography, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Vic. 3010, Australia.

B Department of Botany, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Vic. 3086, Australia.

C Corresponding author: School of Botany, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Vic. 3010, Australia. Email: lrumpff@unimelb.edu.au

Australian Journal of Botany 57(7) 583-591 https://doi.org/10.1071/BT09105
Submitted: 12 June 2009  Accepted: 13 November 2009   Published: 21 December 2009

Abstract

We investigated the relationship between the number of growth rings (a surrogate for approximate age of stems) and basal girth for Eucalyptus pauciflora (Maiden & Blakely) L.A.S.Johnson & Blaxell. Using basal-girth measurements and growth-ring counts obtained from trees felled on ski slopes at three Victorian alpine ski resorts, as well as seedlings destructively sampled from near the tree line on four summits, we modelled the relationship between growth rings and basal girth by using simple linear and non-linear regression methods. We compared our data to growth-ring–basal-girth data collected from low- and high-altitude E. pauciflora woodland stands in Kosciuszko National Park. The relationship between the number of tree rings and basal girth at Victorian sites was non-linear (growth rings = 3.62 × girth0.63, R2 = 0.96). In general, the Victorian and Kosciuszko datasets were in broad agreement, although caution is required when attempting to estimate the age of trees with >115-cm girth. We suggest that the model we have developed can be combined with dendrological techniques to estimate the age of older trees accurately.


Acknowledgements

This project was part of a PhD research project which was funded through an Australian Postgraduate Award (LR) and the Holsworth Wildlife Research Fund. We thank Michael Rumpff for assistance with field sampling, and Resort Management from the Falls Creek, Mount Hotham and Mount Buller Resorts for access to field sites. We are also grateful to Matthew Brookhouse for a discussion of the utility of Eucalyptus in tree-ring research. We are also grateful to two anonymous referees for their helpful comments.


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