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History of Tree-Ring Research. Dendrochronology dendron (= “tree”) chronos (= “time”) - logy (= the study of) Dendrochronology: The science that uses.

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Presentation on theme: "History of Tree-Ring Research. Dendrochronology dendron (= “tree”) chronos (= “time”) - logy (= the study of) Dendrochronology: The science that uses."— Presentation transcript:

1 History of Tree-Ring Research

2 Dendrochronology dendron (= “tree”) chronos (= “time”) - logy (= the study of) Dendrochronology: The science that uses tree rings dated to their exact year of formation to analyze temporal and spatial patterns of processes in the physical and cultural sciences.

3 Scientists That Have Explored Tree Rings Theophrastus in Greece 322 B.C. Leonardo Da Vinci in Italy ca Duhamel and Buffon in France 1737 A.C. Twinning in Connecticut in 1827 Theodor Hartig in Germany in 1837 Charles Babbage in England in 1838 Jacob Kuechler in Texas in 1859 Robert Hartig in Germany in 1867 A.E. Douglass in Arizona in 1904

4 Theophrastus of Erusus Greece 322 B.C. Pupil of Aristotle Wrote “History of Plants” in 9 volumes Last volume titled “Causes of Plants” Mentioned growth rings in two fir species Recognized the annual nature of tree rings

5 Leonardo da Vinci “Rings in the branches of sawed trees show the number of years and, according to their thickness, the years which were more or less dry. Thus, they reflect the individual worlds to which they belong, in the north [of Italy] they are much thicker than in the south.”

6 Duhamel du Monceau, H.-L., and Comte de Buffon, G.L.L Recherches de la cause de l'excentricité des couches ligneuses qu'on appercoit quand on coupe horizontalement le tronc d'un arbre; de l'inégalité d'épaisseur, and du different nombre de ces couches, tant dans le bois formé que dans l'aubier. [Investigations into the cause of the eccentricity of the woody layers that one observes when the trunk of a tree is horizontally cut; inequality in thickness, of different numbers of these layers, as well as the wood formed in the sapwood.] In: P. Mortier, ed., Histoires de l'Académie Royale des Sciences Année 1737, avec les Mémoires de Mathématique & de Physique, pour la meme Année. Amsterdam: Henri-Louis Duhamel du Monceau

7 Twining, A.C On the growth of timber. American Journal of Science and Arts 24: “Every tree had preserved a record of the seasons, for the whole period of its growth…might not this natural, unerring, graphical record of seasons past, deserve as careful preservation as a curious mineral or a new form of crystals?” “Such a comparison… might prove the means of carrying back our knowledge of the seasons, through a period coeval with the age of the oldest forest trees.”

8 Charles Babbage (1791 – 1871)

9 Theodor Hartig Professor of Forestry Sciences at the University of Berlin “ Fraget die Bäume! Besser als alle Bücherweisheit werden sie euch sagen, wie sie behandelt sein wollen.” , in Uber die Entwicklung des Jahresringes der Holzpflanzen Botanist interested in forest growth = silviculture Robert Hartig Professor at Forest Academy, Eberswalde Germany

10 Jacob Kuechler in Texas in 1859 Campbell, T.N The pioneer tree-ring work of Jacob Kuechler. Tree-Ring Bulletin 15(3): Kuechler was a forester from Germany, settled in Texas in “Our records are of such recent date that we must turn to the annals of Nature, particularly of the plant world. A tree contains the record of its life history, and this history is most closely interwoven with the annual rainfall.” Used post oak trees (Quercus stellata) that 125 years later proved to be critical for understanding past climate in the south-central U.S. Noted repeating patterns of dry years and wet years in the ring record.

11 John Muir (1838–1914) Enos Mills (1838–1922)

12 Andrew E. Douglass ( ) is regarded as the “father” of Dendrochronology. Douglass was a student of the famous astronomer Percival Lowell who, in 1894, sent Douglass across the country to build an observatory in Arizona. While acquiring the timber for the observatory’s construction, Douglass noticed similar ring-width patterns in the stumps of the trees cut for construction. By the early 1920s, Douglass had pioneered the science of dendro- chronology, most importantly, the principle of crossdating which he applied to a variety of different disciplines from climatology to astronomy to archaeology.

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16 Douglass, A.E The secret of the southwest solved by talkative tree rings. National Geographic Magazine 56(6):

17 Douglass in Storeroom Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research Tucson, Arizona 1940

18 Douglass at Steward Douglass at Steward Observatory, University of Arizona, 1941

19 John Muir (1838 – 1914) Andrew Ellicott Douglass (1867–1962)

20 Douglass in Office Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research Tucson, Arizona 1941

21 Early Dendrochronologists Fred Scantling, Sid Stallings, A.E. Douglass, Edmund Schulman, James Louis Giddings 1946

22 Edmund Schulman, Sid Stallings, A.E. Douglass, Fred Scantling, James Louis Giddings 1946

23 Florence Hawley

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25 Bruno Huber (1899 – 1969)

26 Edmund Schulman (1908 – 1958)

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29 Harold C. Fritts (1928 – )

30 Fritz H. Schweingruber (1935 – )

31 Thomas W. Swetnam 1955 –

32 Malcolm K. Hughes

33 Edward R. Cook

34 David W. Stahle

35 Subfields of Dendrochronology Dendroarchaeology: Dating of Archaeological dwellings. Dendroclimatology: Developing a record of past climate. Dendrogeomorphology: Dating land movements such as landslides in the past. Dendrohydrology: Creating a record of past water availability and flooding. Dendroglaciology: Dating past movements of glaciers. Dendrovolcanology: Dating the past eruptions of volcanoes. Dendrochemistry: Using tree rings as a monitor of the chemical makeup of the soil. Dendroecology: Recording ecological processes such as tree-line movement, insect outbreaks, or movement of invasive tree species. Dendropyrochronology: Dating the past occurrence of forest fires. Dendroentomology: The use of tree rings to reconstruct past population levels of insects. Dendromastecology: The use of tree rings to reconstruct fruiting events in trees.

36 Individual tree species that can live to more than 1,000 years, that we know of? Intermountain bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva D.K. Bailey), 4,844 years old Alerce (Fitzroya cuppressoides (Molina) Johnston), 3,620 years old Giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum (Lindl.) Buchholz), 3,300 years old Rocky Mountain bristlecone pine (Pinus aristata Engelm.), 2,425 years old Coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens (D.Don) Endl.), 2,200 years old Foxtail pine (Pinus balfouriana Grev. & Balf.), 2,110 years old Rocky Mountain juniper (Juniperus scopulorum Sarg.), 1,889 years old Limber pine (Pinus flexilis James), 1,670 years old Alaska yellow-cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis (D.Don) Spach), 1,636 Baldcypress (Taxodium distichum (L.) Rich.), 1,622 years old Western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis Hook.), 1,288 years old Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco), 1,275 years old Huon pine (Lagarostrobus franklinii C.J. Quinn), 1,089 years old Northern white-cedar (Thuja occidentalis L.), 1,032 years old Himalayan Hemlock (Tsuga dumosa) 1,011 years old

37 International Tree Ring Data Bank (ITRDB)

38 ITRDB Web site ITRDB: International Tree-Ring Data Bank

39 The Ultimate Tree-Ring Web Pages:


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