The study of data from the tree ring growth is calleddendrochronology. As the data is used widely for many purposes and by numerous disciplines, the people who are expert in dendrochronology can be from various disciplines. The thing is that trees and their study are important alongside following the messages that are given in the eye-opening slogans on save trees. There is no formal training given to learn this discipline, however, it has many applications, which are very useful. If you are wondering what is dendrochronology and how studying tree rings help in many ways, then you should look at the list of professions who use this:
Archeologists: People from this discipline tend to use this discipline to study the age of artifacts made of wood. Along with other disciplines, dendrochronology can help pin down the era from which the object is.
Chemists: The experts from this profession use radiocarbon dates that are calibrated using the study of tree rings.
Climate experts: The use of dendrochronology comes in handy in the field of paleoclimatology, which is used to study the environment of the past based on what the tree ring data indicates. This kind of data is also used to extrapolate the future trends too.
Dendrologists: This is in the area of conserving and forestry management, with tree scientists who examine all the aspects of trees and their health. You can study the present local climate using this discipline.
You will also see people who study medieval history, students, classicists, historians and a few other related disciplines studying this discipline. Having a graduate degree in one of the above-mentioned disciplines could be qualified to study the data that is extracted from the use of dendrochronology.
Though most of us go on with our lives without much thought to the state of the world around us, trees are a big part of our ecology. It is also through the study of trees among other aspects that we can ensure that this we leave the world we live in, in good shape for the generations to come. The trees are actually playing the role of lungs in this world by breathing in carbon dioxide and ensuring that there is oxygen in the atmosphere. The study of the most majestic trees in the world is an essential move to learn about the area and see in which conditions trees can flourish.
Not only do trees survive in different climatic conditions, they provide shade, sustenance to the ecosystem of the local area. Trees have been evolving for more than 380 million years and you can be sure that they did not exist in the current form in the past. Even the evolution of wood would have been a natural defense that came about when the plant felt the need for the woody stem to keep it upright. The fact that trees are important would become clearer from studies that include research on countries where deciduous forests are found and more about them.
Coming to the study of tree rings in the trees, you will see that the age of the tree can be determined by the study of concentric circles of the tree stump. Studies have shown that a ring forms after each season of growth, typically annually but not all the time. Studies have also shown that some of the rings in the wood are thin while others are thick and even the concentration of colors differ from light to dark. Actually, the study of dendrochronology delves deeper into the reasons for this occurring. You can actually account for the climate changes the environment could have gone through in the past with this study. In fact, most of the scary predictions of future global climate changes could also come from such studies.
Archeology depends on the dating of wood in artifacts to date the object found. Climate scientists can trace the climatic changes that could have taken place in the past with the use of the data that they get from tree rings. Of course, such studies also account for other factors to come to a definitive conclusion. The study of tree rings has become more of a definitive study over the years.
Here are some defining principles of dendrochronology:
Uniformity of the rings: The record of individual rings can be calibrated against the present record so that it can be placed in the chronology. When you calibrate it properly, you can actually pinpoint the year in which the ring was created.
Limiting factors: You have to consider the weather and environmental factors in the area from which the tree is can have the effect of the ring growth in a particular year or season.
Aggregation: You will need to aggregate the ring data with the variations due to weather conditions to get the right reading.
Ecological amplitude: The study of trees have shown that different trees grow in different conditions like varying weather, type of soil, water conditions (salty or swampy or dry), the levels of humidity, etc.
While the use of dendrochronology is a very good factor, it has some limitations like the fact that you can only date the rings in the tree. It does not take into account the time the tree was cut. Plus, you have to consider that some type of trees is easier to study than others.
The reliability of such studies: The species of trees can vary vastly and while we work on the assumption that growth is annual with a particular growth season, it may not apply to all trees. Oak is a tree that is very reliable when it comes to the study of tree rings. Alder and pine are notoriously unpredictable and can miss a year once in a while.
There are other species of trees that can double up with rings in a particular season and that too not consistently. In the same, high elevation can also have an effect on the dendrochronology of a tree. This is the reason why a good dendrochronology study depends on the lack of a pattern that repeats.
Dendrochronology also studies the carbon amount in a tree sample to determine the time when the ring was created. In the fight against the problems that the current environment faces, this can one of the tools that could come in handy. Which is why each one of us have to know what is dendrochronology and how studying tree rings help in many ways?