Crossdating Dead Trees: Does Sampling Height Influence Results?
Virginie-Arielle Angers, Yves Bergeron, Pierre Drapeau.
In trees experiencing stress prior to death, growth may be partially or totally suppressed, or may occur only in the upper part of the boles. This may induce inaccuracies when retrospectively crossdating dead trees. In this study, we investigated the occurrence and range of time lags between year of last ring production (YOLRP) in crossdated discs collected at the base, at breast height (BrH), and in the upper part (UP) of the boles of 145 snags and logs of four boreal species. We also assessed the influence of tree age and growth prior to death. When comparing YOLRP in the upper and lower part of trees, more than half the time lags departed from zero. Mean lags ranged from 0.6 to 4.6 years according to species, with lags up to 14 years. Negative time lags, i.e. ring production occurring in the lower part of boles while it has stopped in the upper part, were also observed in up to 26% of cases. We suggest that when reconstructing fine patterns of mortality where accuracy must be optimized, sampling entire discs at BrH should be considered, as well as sampling a disc in the UP when sampling old or slowly declining trees.