Tree-Ring Talk

Interpreting tree ring records using a plant ecophysiological approach

Trees' rings record a wealth of information on climate, disturbance, and forest dynamics, and can record these processes from the plot to regional to global scales. However, extracting plant physiological processes from the tree ring record has proved to be more difficult, as integration of leaf to whole tree processes can often lead to confounding results. My research aims to bring a plant ecophysiological perspective to interpreting the tree ring isotopic record and to ask, what processes are the rings actually recording?

Scaling climate sensitivity: How does spatial aggregation affect estimation of the species–environment relationship?

The practice of aggregation in dendrochronology reveals common climate signals while minimizing non-climatic noise. Especially when analyzed at broad spatial scales, climate emerges as a strong predictor of variability in tree ring width. However, the increasing use of tree ring data to study the impacts of climate change on forests, from local to regional and even global scales, warrants careful thinking about the effect of aggregation on climate sensitivities (i.e., species–environment relationships).

Vegetation responses to long term environmental changes at a savanna-forest boundary

Ongoing anthropogenic changes, such as land-use change, climate changes, and rising CO₂, can alter vegetation distribution and function. Ecotones and biome boundaries, such as at the boundary between savannas and closed forests, may be the most vulnerable to these environmental changes. Here, I use both historical survey data and tree ring records to explore the impacts of ~150 years of past environmental changes on the savanna-forest boundary region of the Midwest US.

Subscribe to Tree-Ring Talk