History of Dendrochronology. dendron (= “tree”) chronos (= “time”) - logy (= the study of). Dendrochronology.
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History of 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.
Theophrastus in Greece 322 B.C.
Leonardo Da Vinci in Italy ca. 1500
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
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
“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.”
Duhamel du Monceau, H.-L., and Comte de Buffon, G.L.L. 1737. 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: 171-191.
Henri-Louis Duhamel du Monceau
Twining, A.C. 1833. On the growth of timber. American Journal of Science and Arts 24: 391-393.
“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 te oldest forest trees.”
Charles Babbage (1791 – 1871)
Charles Babbage (1791 – 1871)
“If we found on several trees a remarkably large annual ring, followed at the distance of seven years by a remarkably thin ring, and this again, after two years, followed by another large ring, we should reasonably infer that seven years after a season highly favourable to the growth of these trees, there had occurred a season peculiarly unfavourable to them: that after two years another favourable season had happened, and that all the trees so observed had existed at the same period of time.”
“Let us suppose that we find, in one section, two remarkably large rings, separately from another large ring, by one very stinted ring, and this followed, after three ordinary rings, by two very small and two very large ones… indicated by letters:
L L s L o o o s s L L
1839-1901 Professor at Forest Academy, Eberswalde Germany
“Fraget die Bäume! Besser als alle Bücherweisheit werden sie euch sagen, wie sie behandelt sein wollen.” -- 1853, in Uber die Entwicklung des Jahresringes der Holzpflanzen
Botanist interested in forest growth = silviculture
1805-1880 Professor of Forestry Sciences at the University of Berlin
Jacob Kuechler, Texas, 1859
Campbell, T.N. 1949. The pioneer tree-ring work of Jacob Kuechler. Tree-Ring Bulletin 15(3): 16-20.
Kuechler was a forester from Germany, settled in Texas in 1847.
Used post oak trees (Quercus stellata) that 125 years later proved to be critical for understanding past climate in the south-central U.S.
“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.”
Noted repeating patterns of dry years and wet years in the ring record.
Enos Mills (1838–1922)
John Muir (1838–1914)
Andrew E. Douglass (1867-1962)
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
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.
Douglass at Steward Observatory, University of Arizona, 1941
Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, Tucson, Arizona 1940 (established 1937)
Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, Tucson, Arizona Stadium
Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, Tucson, Arizona 1941
Andrew Ellicott Douglass (1867–1962)
John Muir (1838 – 1914)
Fred Scantling, Sid Stallings, A.E. Douglass, Edmund Schulman, James Louis Giddings 1946
James Louis Giddings, Fred Scantling, A.E. Douglass, Sid Stallings, and Edmund Schulman 1946
Bruno Huber (1899 – 1969)
Edmund Schulman (1908 – 1958)
Harold C. Fritts (1928 – )
Fritz H. Schweingruber (1935 – )
Edward R. Cook
Thomas W. Swetnam
Malcolm K. Hughes
David W. Stahle
Dendroarchaeology: Dating of archaeological dwellings and objects.
Dendroclimatology: Analyzing the climate response in trees and/or developing a record of past climate.
Dendroecology: Recording ecological processes such as treeline change, insect outbreaks, or forest stand history.
Dendropyrochronology: Dating the past occurrence of forest fires.
Dendrogeomorphology: Dating land surface movements (such as landslides) in the past.
Dendrohydrology: Creating a record of past water availability, streamflow, and flooding.
Dendroglaciology: Dating past movements of glaciers.
Dendrovolcanology: Dating the past eruptions of volcanoes.
Dendroentomology: The use of tree rings to reconstruct past population levels of insects.
Dendrochemistry: Using tree rings as a monitor of the chemical makeup of the environment.
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 (D.Don) Eichler) 1,011 years old
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