Correlation between age and basal diameter of fraxinus ornus L. in three ecologically contrasting habitats

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Manna ash (Fraxinus ornus L.) is a typical deciduous tree of South European distribution reaching the northern border of its range in the Carpathian Basin. The correlation between age and basal diameter of this tree was analysed in three ecologically contrasting habitats, as follows. (1) Successional habitat. Abandoned farmland with scattered occurrence of manna ash as a colonising tree of the area. (2) Austrian pine plantation, where manna ash often forms a spontaneous subordinate tree or shrub layer. (3) Cotino-Quercetumpubescentis, the natural vegetation on south facing calcareous hillslopes in Hungary, where Quercus pubescens Willd. and Fraxinus ornus codominate in the low canopy. At each sampling site 21 individuals were selected with an even distribution within circumference categories ranging from 6 cm to 60 cm. Circumference measurements were made at the base of the tree-trunks, then either the tree was felled and a 1 cm thick disk was cut off from the trunk, or cores were taken by a driller. Linear regression analysis was applied to test the correlation between age and diameter. Average age for the measured individuals was 19.76 years in the successional habitat, 37.76 years in the pine plantation and 33.67 years in the Cotino-Qitercetum pubescentis community. Significant correlation (p < 0.001) appeared between basal diameter and age (year-ring count) in the successional habitat and the pine plantation with regression coefficients r = 0.7406 and r = 0.9181, respectively. In case of the Cotino-Quercetumpubescentis community age and basal diameter varied almost independently (r = 0.2712). Taking slope angles of regression equations into account, trees grow 72% faster in average in the successional habitat than in the pine plantation. In conclusion the basal diameter of the trunk was found to be a good predictor of tree age where populations develop under a relatively uniform light regime. However, the highly heterogeneous aerial and soil environments in the species' typical natural habitat cause an uncoupling of age and trunk diameter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-136
Number of pages10
JournalActa Botanica Hungarica
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2001


  • Basal diameter
  • Fraxinus ornus
  • Manna ash
  • Plasticity
  • Tree age
  • Year-ring counts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Plant Science

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