The study of wood formation at different temporal and spatial scales is, clearly, in need of techniques enabling to capture sufficient multi-scale detail (Battipiglia et al. 2014). Both technological advances as well as related computational techniques will help in increasing our understanding of tree response in a changing climate and changing needs, supporting sustainable production of both timber and non-timber products. The aim of dendrochronomics is to develop a high-throughput multi-scale hard- and software platform to obtain and analyze continuous time series of multi-proxy data, with intra-annual resolution, on increment cores mainly. The platform comprises 3 essential breakthrough steps: high-throughput acquisition of multi-proxy tree-ring series, guided cross-dating and advanced time-aware analysis. The backbone of dendrochronomics is advanced multi-scale X-ray CT scanning (see example below for an increment core of Quercus spp.) at one hand and full imaging of long microtome cross-sections (see example below for Entandrophragma spp) at the other hand.
Key publications of the team on dendrochronomics are:
- Van den Bulcke et al. 2009: X-ray tomography as a tool for detailed anatomical analysis
- De Ridder et al. 2011: High-resolution proxies for wood density variations in Terminalia superba
- Van den Bulcke et al. 2014: 3D tree-ring analysis using helical X-ray tomography
- De Mil et al. 2016: A field-to-desktop toolchain for X-ray CT densitometry enables tree ring analysis
- Vannoppen et al. 2017: Using X-ray CT based tree-ring width data for tree growth trend analysis
- Maes et al. 2017: Evaluating the robustness of three ring-width measurement methods for growth release reconstruction
- Vannoppen et al. 2018: Climate driven trends in tree biomass increment show asynchronous dependence on tree-ring width and wood density variation
Ongoing and to be started projects related to dendrochronomics:
- HerbaXylaREDD: Interdisciplinary exploitation of the federal Herbarium and Xylarium for tropical forest management
- XINCAST: An X-ray view on the intra-seasonal dynamics of carbon storage in trees
Within dendrochronomics, we also aim at the development of a database, both containing pith-to-bark density profiles based on 3D X-ray CT volumes as well as (partially annotated) pith-to-bark cross-sections. Currently, more than 5000 cores from locations in Africa and Europe haven been X-ray CT scanned (see map below, which will be updated regularly).
Following projects (number corresponds with 'projectnr' in the pop-up on the map) and associated people contributed to the database:
- IFS funded PhD Moses Libalah
- ITTO funded PhD dr. Agathe Dié
- VLIR-UOS funded PhD dr. Maaike De Ridder
- Master thesis Victor Deklerck
- ERC PASTFORWARD : Prof. Kris Verheyen, Sybryn Maes
If you are interested in applying dendrochronomics in your work or you want to know more about X-ray CT scanning for tree-ring analysis or the database, feel free to contact us for collaboration. You can find additional information on the UGent-Woodlab website.