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Age-based population dynamics of Opuntia engelmannii, a shrubby cactus with flattened cladodes, were investigated at a Sonoran Desert site protected from grazing since 1907. Demographic statistics were determined from births and deaths on six permanent vegetation plots mapped four times between 1968 and 2001. Moderate longevity (13–56 years) and modest per capita annual survival (0.9298) were associated with fairly rapid turnover; cycles of population growth and decline were thus evident over relatively short periods. Age–frequency distribution, determined for subpopulations in two neighboring habitats in 1996 and 2003, was used to calculate residual regeneration, an index of the difference between observed cohort...