Identification, measurement and interpretation of tree rings in woody species from mediterranean climates

Authors

  • PAOLO CHERUBINI,

    Corresponding author
    1. Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, CH-8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, New York 10964, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • BARBARA L. GARTNER,

    1. Department of Wood Science and Engineering, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • ROBERTO TOGNETTI,

    1. Dipartimento di Scienze Animali, Vegetali e dell'Ambiente (SAVA), Universitä degli Studi del Molise, I-86100 Campobasso, Italy
    Search for more papers by this author
  • OTTO U. BRÄKER,

    1. Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, CH-8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, New York 10964, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • WERNER SCHOCH,

    1. Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, CH-8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, New York 10964, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • JOHN L. INNES

    1. Department of Forest Resources Management, University of British Columbia, Forest Sciences Centre, 2045, 2424 Main Mall Vancouver, B.C., V6T 1Z4, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author

* Author for correspondence: Paolo Cherubini, WSL, CH-8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland. Phone: -411 7392278; Fax: -41 1 7392215; E-mail: cherubini@wsl.ch

ABSTRACT

We review the literature dealing with mediterranean climate, vegetation, phenology and ecophysiology relevant to the understanding of tree-ring formation in mediterranean regions. Tree rings have been used extensively in temperate regions to reconstruct responses of forests to past environmental changes. In mediterranean regions, studies of tree rings are scarce, despite their potential for understanding and predicting the effects of global change on important ecological processes such as desertification. In mediterranean regions, due to the great spatio-temporal variability of mediterranean environmental conditions, tree rings are sometimes not formed. Often, clear seasonality is lacking, and vegetation activity is not always associated with regular dormancy periods. We present examples of tree-ring morphology of five species (Arbutus unedo, Fraxinus ornus, Quercus cerris, Q. ilex, Q. pubescens) sampled in Tuscany, Italy, focusing on the difficulties we encountered during the dating. We present an interpretation of anomalies found in the wood structure and, more generally, of cambial activity in such environments. Furthermore, we propose a classification of tree-ring formation in mediterranean environments. Mediterranean tree rings can be dated and used for dendrochronological purposes, but great care should be taken in selecting sampling sites, species and sample trees.

Ancillary