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

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Dendrochronology
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. 


Scientists that have explored tree rings
Scientists That Have Explored Tree Rings

  • 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


History of tree ring research

  • 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


Leonardo da vinci
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.”


History of tree ring research

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


History of tree ring research

Twining, A.C. 1833. On the growth of timber. 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. [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 the oldest forest trees.”


History of tree ring research

Charles Babbage (1791 – 1871) 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. [


History of tree ring research

Robert Hartig 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. [

1839-1901 Professor at Forest Academy, Eberswalde Germany

Theodor Hartig

“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


History of tree ring research

Jacob Kuechler 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. [ in Texas in 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.

“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.


History of tree ring research

Enos Mills (1838–1922) 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. [

John Muir (1838–1914)


History of tree ring research

Andrew E. Douglass (1867-1962) 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. [

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.


History of tree ring research


Douglass in storeroom
Douglass in Storeroom talkative tree rings.

Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research Tucson, Arizona 1940


Douglass at steward
Douglass at Steward talkative tree rings.

Douglass at Steward Observatory, University of Arizona, 1941


History of tree ring research

Andrew Ellicott Douglass (1867–1962) talkative tree rings.

John Muir (1838 – 1914)


Douglass in office
Douglass in Office talkative tree rings.

Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research Tucson, Arizona 1941


Early dendrochronologists
Early Dendrochronologists talkative tree rings.

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


History of tree ring research

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


History of tree ring research

Florence Hawley Scantling, James Louis Giddings 1946


History of tree ring research

Bruno Huber (1899 – 1969) Scantling, James Louis Giddings 1946


History of tree ring research

Edmund Schulman Scantling, James Louis Giddings 1946 (1908 – 1958)


History of tree ring research

Edmund Schulman Scantling, James Louis Giddings 1946 (1908 – 1958)


History of tree ring research

Harold C. Fritts (1928 – ) Scantling, James Louis Giddings 1946


History of tree ring research

Fritz H. Schweingruber (1935 – ) Scantling, James Louis Giddings 1946


History of tree ring research

Thomas W. Swetnam Scantling, James Louis Giddings 1946

1955 –


History of tree ring research

Malcolm K. Hughes Scantling, James Louis Giddings 1946


History of tree ring research

Edward R. Cook Scantling, James Louis Giddings 1946


History of tree ring research

David W. Stahle Scantling, James Louis Giddings 1946


Subfields of dendrochronology
Subfields of Dendrochronology Scantling, James Louis Giddings 1946

  • 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.


Individual tree species that can live to more than 1 000 years that we know of
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


International tree ring data bank itrdb
International Tree Ring Data Bank (ITRDB) years,

http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/paleo/treering.html



History of tree ring research

The Ultimate Tree-Ring Web Pages: years,

http://web.utk.edu/~grissino/