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We apply a combination of suppression and release criteria to reconstruct the disturbance history of a ponderosa pine – Douglas-fir stand in central Idaho. In this stand, disturbance, likely fire, induced growth releases in some trees, and sudden, severe suppressions in others. To characterize growth release following disturbance, we developed boundary-line release criteria for Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine. Suppression criteria were applied to identify disturbances defined as a growth reduction of more than 1.8 standard deviations sustained for a minimum of five years. To prevent confusing a true release event with growth increases associated with recovery from suppression, release events were not tallied for at least fifteen years following a suppression event. Release and suppression events were combined to create a disturbance chronology characterized by a high frequency of disturbance between 1820 and 1920. This period of disturbance likely reflects post-European settlement land uses such as grazing and logging as well as an increase in fire frequency. Fire suppression in the latter part of the 20th Century likely explains the decrease in disturbance after 1940. We believe that a combination of release as well as suppression criteria best describes the disturbance history of this stand.
One of the main elements of dendrochronological standardization is removing the biological trend, i.e. the progressive decline of ring width along a cross-sectional radius that is caused by the corresponding increase in stem size and tree age over time. The “conservative” option for removing this biological trend is to fit a modified negative exponential curve (or a straight line with slope ≤ 0) to the ring-width measurements. This method is based on the assumption that, especially for open-grown and/or shade-intolerant species, annual growth rate of mature trees fluctuates around a specific level, expressed by a constant ring width. Because this method has numerical and conceptual drawbacks, we propose an alternative approach based on the assumption that constant growth is expressed by a constant basal area increment distributed over a growing surface. From this starting point, we derive a mathematical expression for the biological trend of ring width, which can be easily calculated and used for dendrochronological standardization.
The proposed C-method is compared to other standardization techniques, including Regional Curve Standardization (RCS), of tree-ring width from ponderosa pines (Pinus ponderosa Douglas ex P.Lawson & C.Lawson) located at the Gus Pearson Natural Area (GPNA) in northern Arizona, USA. Master ring-index chronologies built from ring area, RCS, and C-method reproduced stand-wide patterns of tree growth at the GPNA, whereas other standardization options, including the “conservative” one, failed to do so. In addition, the C-method has the advantage of calculating an expected growth curve for each tree, whereas RCS is based on applying the same growth curve to all trees. In conclusion, the C-method replaces the purely empirical “conservative” option with a theory-based approach, which is applicable to individual ring-width measurement series, does not require fitting a growth curve using nonlinear regression, and can be rigorously tested for improving tree-ring records of environmental changes.
The eruption of Parícutin (1943–1952), a cinder cone volcano in Michoacán, Mexico, caused dendrochronological and dendrochemical responses that might be useful as general dating tools for eruptions. For the eruption period, pines near Parícutin have slightly suppressed ring widths plus high inter-annual variability of width. Wood anatomy changes include traumatic resin ducts and thin bands of false latewood. Dendrochemistry of tree rings shows little temporal variation in most elements, but beginning in 1943 sulfur content increased in rings of four trees and phosphorus content increased in rings of two trees. Hypotheses for increased S and P include new availability of pre-existing soil S and P and/or new input of S and P from the tephra itself. Pines at Parícutin also show suppressed ring widths for five years beginning in 1970, and had the eruption date not been known, the most likely conclusion from ring-width data alone would have been an eruption from 1970 to 1974. However, the 1970s suppression was in response to defoliation by a pine sawfly outbreak, not an eruption. For dendrochronological dating of cinder-cone eruptions, a combination of multiple characteristics (width, chemistry, and anatomy) would be more reliable than depending on any one characteristic alone.
We dated vernacular folk crafts (traditional snow shovels) made of beech wood (Fagus crenata Bl.) in north-central Japan. A raw chronology was constructed for the folk crafts, spanning the period from 1721 to 1953 (233 years). The raw chronology was crossdated using a reference chronology in central Japan. Eventually, tree-ring dates were confidently determined for 26 out of 44 samples. The final tree-ring dates of the folk crafts ranged between 1872 and 1953. We used oral folkloric records collected in a public survey for comparison and verification of our results. The time period of use of the folk crafts was supposed to range between the late Meiji Period and the beginning of the Pacific War (World War II), and the tree-ring dates were generally consistent with the date range. However, the final tree-ring dates were after the Pacific War for two youngest samples, showing better agreement with the historical change in industry of modern Japan. The tree-ring dates demonstrate the potential to describe the historical use of the artifacts more accurately than the folkloric records. In addition, the existing site chronology of Japanese beech has been better replicated using the folk craft samples. The chronology can possibly be further extended using archaeological wood from historical buildings.
The deciduous forests of northeastern United States are currently experiencing an invasion of the exotic plant species Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii). This recent and rapid invasion leads to rising concern about its potential threats to native species as well as natural ecosystems, demanding a better understanding of its invasion mechanisms and potential responses to climate change. Unfortunately, few studies have been conducted to understand the influence of climate on the growth of B. thunbergii, largely because of the absence of long-term growth records. In this study we demonstrate growth rings of B. thunbergii are annually resolved and crossdatable. The first ring-width chronology of B. thunbergii was therefore developed using samples collected from the Black Rock Forest (BRF), New York. Climate-growth relationship analysis indicates the growth of B. thunbergii in the BRF is positively correlated with precipitation in prior October, current February and May–August, but is negatively correlated with current March precipitation. The growth of B. thunbergii is also negatively correlated with temperatures in prior winter (November–January) and current summer (June–July), but is positively correlated with current spring temperature (March–May). These dendrochronological results on B. thunbergii, together with further physiological studies, will improve our understanding on how the growth of this invasive species is affected by local climate dynamics, as well as the long-term invasion potential that is tied to its responses to climate change.