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Annual rings in a native Hawaiian tree, Sophora chrysophylla, on Maunakea, Hawaiʻi

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 August 2015

Kainana S. Francisco*
Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science, University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, 200 West Kāwili Street, Hilo, Hawaiʻi, 96720, USA USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 60 Nowelo Street, Hilo, Hawaiʻi, 96720, USA
Patrick J. Hart
Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science, University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, 200 West Kāwili Street, Hilo, Hawaiʻi, 96720, USA Biology Department, University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, 200 West Kāwili Street, Hilo, Hawaiʻi, 96720, USA
Jinbao Li
Department of Geography, University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
Edward R. Cook
Tree-Ring Lab, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, 61 Route 9W – PO Box 1000, Palisades, New York, 10964, USA
Patrick J. Baker
Department of Forest and Ecosystem Science, University of Melbourne, Richmond, Victoria 3121, Australia
1Corresponding author. Email:


Annual rings are not commonly produced in tropical trees because they grow in a relatively aseasonal environment. However, in the subalpine zones of Hawaiʻi's highest volcanoes, there is often strong seasonal variability in temperature and rainfall. Using classical dendrochronological methods, annual growth rings were shown to occur in Sophora chrysophylla, a native tree species on Maunakea, Hawaiʻi. Chronologies were established from nearby non-native, live conifer trees and these were used to verify the dates from a total of 52 series from 22 S. chrysophylla trees, establishing an 86-y chronology (1926–2011). Ring-width patterns were significantly correlated with monthly rainfall from August of the previous year. This study is the first in the eastern tropical Pacific region to demonstrate annual growth rings in trees.

Short Communication
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015 

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