Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Dendroclimatology and Dendroecology

  • Harold C. Fritts (a1)
Abstract

Dendrochronology is the science of dating annual growth layers (rings) in woody plants. Two related subdisciplines are dendroclimatology and dendroecology. The former uses the information in dated rings to study problems of present and past climates, while the latter deals with changes in the local environment rather than regional climate.

Successful applications of dendroclimatology and dendroecology depend upon careful stratification. Ring-width samples are selected from trees on limiting sites, where widths of growth layers vary greatly from one year to the next (sensitivity) and autocorrelation of the widths is not high. Rings also must be cross-dated and sufficiently replicated to provide precise dating. This selection and dating assures that the climatic information common to all trees, which is analogous to the “signal”, is large and properly placed in time. The random error or nonclimatic variations in growth, among trees, is analogous to “noise” and is reduced when ring-width indices are averaged for many trees.

Some basic facts about the growth are presented along with a discussion of important physiological processes operating throughout the roots, stems, and leaves. Certain gradients associated with tree height, cambial age, and physiological activity control the size of the growth layers as they vary throughout the tree. These biological gradients interact with environmental variables and complicate the task of modeling the relationships linking growth with environment.

Biological models are described for the relationships between variations in ring widths from conifers on arid sites, and variations in temperature and precpitation. These climatic factors may influence the tree at any time in the year. Conditions preceding the growing season sometimes have a greater influence on ring width than conditions during the growing season, and the relative effects of these factors on growth vary with latitude, altitude, and differences in factors of the site. The effects of some climatic factors on growth are negligible during certain times of the year, but important at other times. Climatic factors are sometimes directly related to growth and at other times are inversely related to growth. Statistical methods are described for ascertaining these differences in the climatic response of trees from different sites.

A practical example is given of a tree-ring study and the mechanics are described for stratification and selection of tree-ring materials, for laboratory preparation, for cross-dating, and for computer processing. Several methods for calibration of the ring-width data with climatic variation are described. The most recent is multivariate analysis, which allows simultaneous calibration of a variety of tree-ring data representing different sites with a number of variables of climate.

Several examples of applications of tree-ring analysis to problems of environment and climate are described. One is a specification from tree rings of anomalies in atmosphere circulation for a portion of the Northern Hemisphere since 1700 A.D. Another example treats and specifies past conditions in terms of conditional probabilities. Other methods of comparing present climate with past climate are described along with new developments in reconstructing past hydrologic conditions from tree rings.

Tree-ring studies will be applied in the future to problems of temperate and mesic environments, and to problems of physiological, genetic, and anatomical variations within and among trees. New developments in the use of X-ray techniques will facilitate the measurement and study of cell size and cell density. Tree rings are an important source of information on productivity and dry-matter accumulation at various sites. Some tree-ring studies will deal with environmental pollution. Statistical developments will improve estimation of certain past anomalies in weather factors and the reconstructtion of atmosphere circulation associated with climate variability and change. Such information should improve chances for measuring and assessing the possibility of inadvertent modification of climate by man.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Brown, J.M. (1968). The photosynthetic regime of some southern Arizona Ponderosa pine. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Arizona. 99 pp.
Budelsky, C.A. (1969). Variation in transpiration and its relationship with growth for Pimus ponderosa Lawson in southern Arizona. Ph.D. dissertation University of Arizona 59 pp.
Dahl, E. Mork, E. (1959). On the relationships between temperature, respiration and growth in Norway spruce (Picea abies (L) Karst.). Meddelelser fra Det norske Skogforsøkevesen 53, 8393.
Douglass, A.D. (1914). A method of estimating rainfall by the growth of trees In The Climatic Factor as Illustrated in Arid America. (Huntington, E., Ed.), pp 100122. Carnegie Institution of Washington Publication 192, Reprinted: American Geographical Society Bulletin 46, 321335.
Duff, G.H. Nolan, N.J. (1953). Growth and morphogenesis in the Canadian forest species I. The controls of cambial and apical activity in Pinus resinosa ait. Canadian Journal of Botany 31, 323330.
Eklund, B. (1956). Variations in the widths of annual rings in pine and spruce due to climatic conditions in northern Sweden during the years 1900–1944. Tree Ring Bulletin 21, 2124.
Erdman, J.A. Douglas, C.L. Marr, J.M. (1969). Environment of Mesa Verde, Colorado. Archeological Research Series Number 7-B National Park Service, U. S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D. C. 72 pp.
Farrar, J.L. (1961). Longitudinal variation in the thickness of the annual ring. Forestry Chronicle 37, 323331.
Ferguson, C. W. (1970). Concepts and techniques of dendrochronology. In Scientific Methods in Medieval Archaeology. Berger, R., pp183200 University of California Press, Berkeley
Fritts, H.C. (1962a). An approach to dendroclimatology: Screening by means of multiple regression techniques.. Journal of Geophysical Research 67, 14131420.
Fritts, H.C. (1962b). The relation of growth-ring widths in American beech and white oak to variations in climate. Tree-Ring Bulletin 25, 210.
Fritts, H.C. (1963). Computer programs for tree-ring research. Tree-Ring Bulletin 25, 27.
Fritts, H.C. (1965). Tree-ring evidence for climatic changes in western North America. Monthly Weather Review 93, 421443.
Fritts, H.C. (1966). Growth rings of trees: their correlation with climate. Science 154, 973979.
Fritts, H.C. (1969a). Bristlecone pine in the White Mountains of California: growth and ring-width characteristics. Papers of the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research. The University of Arizona, Tucson 44 pp.
Fritts, H.C. (1969). Tree-ring analysis: a tool for water resources research. Transactions, American Geophysical Union 50, 2229.
Fritts, H.C. Smith, D.G. Stokes, M.A. (1965). The biological model for paleoclimatic interpretation of Mesa Verde tree-ring series. American Antiquity 31, No. 2, Part 2 (Society for American Archaeology, Memoir 19) 101121.
Fritts, H.C. Smith, D.G. Budelsky, C.A. Cardis, J.W. (1965). The variability of ring characteristics within trees as shown by a reanalysis of four Ponderosa pine. Tree-Ring Bulletin 27, 318.
Fritts, H.C. Smith, D.G. Cardis, J.W. Budelsky, C.A. (1965). Tree-ring characteristics along a vegetation gradient in northern Arizona. Ecology 46, 393401.
Fritts, H.C. Mosimann, J.E. Bottorff, C.P. (1969). A revised computer program for standardizing tree-ring series. Tree-Ring Bulletin 29, 1520.
Fritts, H.C. Blasing, T.J. Hayden, B.P. Kutzbach, J.E. (1971). Multivariate techniques for specifying tree-growth and climate relationships and for reconstructing anomalies in paleoclimate. Journal of Applied Meteorology 10, 845864.
Gatewood, J.S. Wilson, A. Thomas, H.C. Kister, L.M. (1964). General effects of drought on water resources of the southwest. U. S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 372-B, 3136.
Giddings, J.L. (1941). Dendrochronology in northern Alaska. University of Alaska Publication Volume 9, and University of Arizona Bulletin Volume 12,, Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research Bulletin Number 1 107 pp.
Glerum, C. (1970). Drought ring formation in conifers. Forest Science 61, 246248.
Glerum, C. Farrar, J.L. (1966). Frost-ring formation in the stems of some coniferous species. Canadian Journal of Botany 44, 879886.
Holmsgaard, E. (1962). Influence of weather on growth and reproduction of beech. Communicationes Instituti Forestalis Fenniae 55, 15.
Hustich, I. (1948). The Scotch pine and its dependence on the climate in the last decades. Acta Botanica Fennica 42, 175.
Hustich, I. (1949). On the correlation between growth and the recent climatic fluctuation. Glaciers and Climate. Geografiska Annaler 1–2, 90105.
Jenkins, G.M. Watts, D.G. (1968). “Spectral Analysis and its Applications.” Holden-Day San Francisco 525 pp.
Jonsson, B. (1969). Studies of variations in the widths of annual rings in Scots pine and Norway spruce due to weather conditions in Sweden. Research Notes Number 16 Department of Forest Yield Research, Royal College of Forestry Stockholm 297 pp.
Jones, F.W., Parker, M.L. (1970). G. S. C. Tree-ring scanning densitometer and data acquisition system. Tree-Ring Bulletin 30, 2331.
Julian, P.R. Fritts, H.C. (1968). On the possibility of quantitatively extending climatic records by means of dendroclimatological analysis. Proceedings, First Statistical Meteorological Conference Hartford, Connecticut 7682.
Kramer, P.J. Kozlowski, T.T. (1960). “Physiology of Trees.” McGraw-Hill New York 642 pp.
Krueger, K.W. Trappe, J.M. (1967). Food reserves and seasonal growth of Douglasfir seedlings. Forest Science 13, 192202.
Kutzbach, J. E. (in preparation). Diagnostic study of present circulation variability and inferred circulation variability since 1000 A.D..
Larson, P.R. (1962). Auxin gradients and the regulation of cambial activity In Tree Growth. Kozlowski, T.T. pp. 97117. Ronald Press New York
LaMarche, V.C. Jr. (1970). Frost-ring damage in subalpine conifers and their application to tree-ring dating problems. The University of British Columbia Faculty of Forestry Bulletin No. 7 “Tree-ring Analysis with Special Reference to Northwest America”, Proceedings pp. 99100.
LaMarche, V.C, Jr.,Mooney, H.A. (1967). Altithermal timberline advance in western United States. Nature 213, 980982.
LaMarche, V.C, Jr.,Fritts, H.C. (in press) Tree-growth and solar variation,. Second International Symposium on Solar-Terrestrial Relationships in Physical Chemistry and in Life Sciences. Presses Academiques Europaenes, Brussels.
LaMarche, V.C. Jr. Fritts, H.C. (1971). Anomaly patterns of climate over western United States, 1700–1930, derived from principal component analysis of tree-ring data. Monthly Weather Review 99, 138142.
Matalas, N.C. (1962). Statistical properties of tree-ring data. International Association of Scientific Hydrology Publication 7, 3947.
Mitchell, J.M. Jr. Dzerdzeevski, B. Flohn, H. Hofmeyer, W.L. Lamb, H.H. Rao, K.N. Wallen, C.C. (1966). Climatic change. World Meteorological Organization Technical Note No. 79. 79
Parker, M.L. Meleskie, K.R. (1970). Preparation of X-ray negatives of tree-ring specimens for dendrochronological analysis. Tree-Ring Bulletin 30, 1122.
Parker, M.L. Henoch, W.E.S. (1971). The use of Engelmann spruce latewood density for dendrochronological purposes. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 1, 9098.
Polge, H. (1970). The use of X-ray densitometric methods in dendrochronology. Tree-Ring Bulletin 30, 110.
Rampton, V. (1971). Late quaternary vegetational and climatic history of the Snag-Klutlan area, southwestern Yukon Territory, Canada. Geological Society of America Bulletin 82, 959978.
Robinson, W.J. Dean, J.S. (1969). Tree-ring evidence for climatic changes in the prehistoric Southwest from A.D. 1000 to 1200 .. 1967–1968 Annual Report to the National Park Service Department of the Interior Washington, D. C., project: 9 pp. and 21 figures
Schulman, E. (1945). Tree-ring hydrology of the Colorado River Basin. University of Arizona Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research Bulletin 16, 151.
Schulman, E. (1947). Tree-ring hydrology in southern California. University of Arizona Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research Bulletin 18, 136.
Schulman, E. (1956). “Dendroclimatic Changes in Semiarid America.” University of Arizona Press Tucson 142 pp.
Schulman, M. Bryson, R.A. 1964 . A statistical study of dendroclimatic relationships in south central Wisconsin. Journal of Applied Meteorology 4, 107111.
Sellers, W.D. (1968). Climatology of monthly precipitation patterns in western United States, 1931–1966. Monthly Weather Review 96, 585595.
Serre, F. Luck, H.P. Pons, A. (1964). Premièrs recherches sur les relations entre les variations des anneaux ligneaux chez Pinus halepensis Mill, et les variations annuelles du climat. Oecologia Plantarum 1, 117135.
Sirén, G. (1961). Skogsgränstallen som indikator för klimatfluktuationerna i norra Fennoskandien under historisk tid. Communicationes Instituti Forestalis Fenniae 54, 66 pp.
Smith, D.M. Wilsie, M.C. 1961. Some anatomical responses of loblolly pine to soil water deficiencies. Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry 44, 179185.
Stockton, C.W. (1971). The feasibility of augmenting hydrologic records using tree-ring data. Ph.D. dissertation University of Arizona Tucson 172 pp.
Stockton, C.W. Fritts, H.C. 1968. Conditional probability of occurrence for variations in climate based on widths of annual tree rings in Arizona. ESSA Annual Report E-88-67(G) 24 pp.
Stockton, C.W. Fritts, H.C. 1971. An empirical reconstruction of water levels for Lake Athabasca (1810–1967) by analysis of tree rings. Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, University of Arizona Tucson 55 pp.
Stokes, M.A. Smiley, T.L. 1968. “An Introduction to Tree-Ring Dating.” University of Chicago Press Chicago 73 pp.
Transeau, E.M.,Sampson, H.C. Tiffany, L.H. (1953). “Textbook of Botany.” Harper and Brothers New York 817 pp.
Vinš, B. Tesař, V. 1969). Increment loss due to smoke immissions in the region of Trutnov. Výzkumný Ústav, Lesniho Hospodařstvi a Myslivosti, Zbraslav-Strnady, Czechoslovakia, Prace Vúlhm 38, 141158.
Weakly, H.E. (1950). Dendrochronology and its climatic implications in the Central Plains. Proceedings of the Sixth Plains Conference for Archaeology, 1948 Anthropological Paper No. 11, Department of Anthropology, University of Utah, University of Utah Press Salt Lake City pp. 9094.
Zahner, R. (1968). Water deficits and growth of trees In “Water Deficits and Plant Growth II.” (Kozlowski, T.T. Ed.), pp.191 254. Academic Press New York
Zahner, R.,Stage, A.R. (1966). A procedure for calculating daily moisture stress and its utility in regressions of tree growth on weather. Ecology 47, 6474.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Quaternary Research
  • ISSN: 0033-5894
  • EISSN: 1096-0287
  • URL: /core/journals/quaternary-research
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed